FOOD: Spring Onion and Bacon Bread Pudding

May 4, 2012 by · 2 Comments 


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May 4, 2012
Special to the Falls Church Times

(Editor’s Note: When I met up with Claire at the last Falls Church Farmers Market chef demo she was so excited about this recipe and I can see why!  She thought this would be a lovely accompaniment to a Mother’s Day dinner or brunch. So come to the Falls Church Farmer’s Market tomorrow to welcome all the new and familiar vendors and pull together your ingredients for next weekend’s Mother Day celebrations.)

When my husband and I lived in the Napa Valley several years ago, I cooked at a very popular Michelin-star restaurant. The summer was the valley’s busiest time of year, and on weekends especially, the restaurant would be bustling with servers, cooks, bussers, dishwashers, you name it. I worked the lunch shift on the weekends and, in addition to prepping my station and cooking for the guests, it was also my responsibility to make family meal for our entire staff.

We were encouraged by our chef to make dishes that fed many but cost little. One of the ingredients we always had plenty of was stale bread, left over from the night before. Obviously, I had used stale bread in the past to make French toast or sweet bread pudding, but as side dishes go that wasn’t going to work. But I thought, why not a savory bread pudding, a creamier stuffing if you will. “Eureka!” Now I know that a savory version of bread pudding was thought up long before my time as a cook, but this recipe is true perfection and so affordable, even with a multitude of farmer’s market ingredients. It also makes a great addition to any Mother’s Day breakfast or brunch or dinner.

Five of the ingredients for this dish are from the Falls Church farmers market. The San Francisco Sourdough bread, made from certified organic flour, is from Atwater’s Bakery in Baltimore, Md., The uncured bacon, from grass-fed pork, is from Smith Meadows Farm in Berryville, Va., The spring onions are from Laurel Grove Farms in Oak Grove, Va. The free-range eggs are from Flower of the Forest Farm in Lexington Park, Md. And the milk is from Clear Spring Creamery in Clear Spring, Md.,

Equipment: 1 medium skillet, 1 9 X 13 baking dish, 1 large mixing bowl, 1 medium mixing bowl, 1 medium sauce pan.

6 cups stale bread (I think sourdough works well in this recipe) – cut into a 1-inch dice — $3.50

6 strips of bacon (I used uncured, hormone free)- small dice — $2.89

4 spring onions (not scallions), about 1 cup – sliced thinly into rounds — $1.25

1 cup whole milk — $0.62

1 cup heavy cream — $1.24

2 whole eggs — $0.78

1 egg yolk —  $0.39

½ tsp fresh thyme — $0.03

1 tsp. salt — $0.01

½ tsp. freshly ground pepper — $0.01

½ cup grated pecorino — $0.53

2 Tbsp. softened butter — $0.40

Total cost of dish = $11.65

Begin by cutting the stale bread into a 1-inch dice. The bread should be very stale and hard. If you feel like your bread isn’t stale enough, it can always be popped into a low oven, at about 300 degrees, for about 15 minutes. Once the bread is cubed, place it in a large mixing bowl for later.

Saute bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook until the bacon is crispy, about 10 minutes. Add crispy bacon to the large mixing bowl with the bread. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of rendered bacon fat from the skillet. Saute spring onions in rendered bacon fat until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add onions to the large mixing bowl.

Whisk whole eggs and the egg yolk in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a separate sauce pan add milk and cream. Cook until scalding (when mixture just begin to boil around the edges).  Slowly stream in the hot milk/cream mixture into the eggs while whisking constantly. If the milk is added to the eggs too quickly, the eggs will scramble, so ADD SLOWLY!  Season the milk/cream mixture with salt, pepper and thyme. When the salt is dissolved, add the milk/cream mixture to the bread. Stir until all of the ingredients are well-combined. Add pecorino and stir to combine. The mixture will look very wet. This is okay. The bread will absorb the liquid as it sits, (reference picture below). Refrigerate the mixture for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

Move the oven rack to the highest setting and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9 X 13 inch baking dish with softened butter. Add the bread mixture to the greased dish and cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes covered on the top rack and then uncovered for an additional 15-20 minutes. The bread pudding should be set and all the liquid should be cooked and absorbed into the bread.  Be cautious not to overcook the pudding; it will be very dry.

Makes eight 1-cup portions.


FOOD: Exploring Options in Early Spring Farmer’s Market – Cabbage

By Claire McConnell
April 20, 2012
Special to Falls Church Times

Exploring the Falls Church farmer’s market in April can be a little tricky. The more common vegetables are out of season, and you’re left with lots of root veggies and dark, leafy greens. And after eating root vegetables and leafy greens for the last three months, it’s challenging thinking of new and exciting ideas with the same produce. But on a recent visit, I saw a beautiful, large head of cabbage; a vegetable that is usually under-appreciated for its versatility.

When most people think of cabbage, they usually think of two things: over-dressed coleslaw or some overcooked mush served with corned beef.  Unfortunately, cabbage has become somewhat of an afterthought, a poor-man’s side dish if you will. But cabbage is an incredibly versatile vegetable that when utilized properly has incredible flavor. Cabbage also is an excellent source of vitamin C and folic acid and is a good source of potassium and B6. It is extremely low in fat, calories and carbohydrates, but high in fiber. Cabbage is said to have cancer-inhibiting properties and has been used for centuries as an anti-diarrheal and as an antibiotic for stomach ulcers.  But best of all, cabbage is very inexpensive. Most stores usually charge around 30 cents per pound. Even organic cabbage tends to be fairly inexpensive.

This recipe for Golabki (go’wompki), or stuffed cabbage, stemmed from a conversation I had with my grandma, who apparently use to make them for her family years ago. Golabki is a traditional Polish dish made from boiled cabbage leaves, stuffed with ground pork and seasoned rice and baked in a tomato-cream sauce. This dish is a twist on the classic and perfect for chilly spring nights, and even though it may already feel like summer has arrived, it will still taste delicious.

Three of the ingredients for this dish are from the Falls Church farmers market. The cabbage is from Sunnyside Farm and Orchard, in Charlestown, W.V., The grass-fed ground beef is from Smith Meadows Farm in Berryville, Va., And the apples are from Black Rock Orchard in Lineboro, Md.

Equipment: 1 medium skillet, 1 medium saucepan, 1 large stockpot and 1 9 X 13 baking dish.

1 cup long-grain white rice — $0.73

2 cups water — $0.00

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil — $0.05

½ medium onion – small dice — $0.37

3 garlic cloves – minced — $0.07

1-pound ground beef (I used no hormone added, grass-fed) — $7.55

1 Tbsp smoked paprika — $0.04

1 large head of cabbage, around 5-7 pounds — $2.00

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil — $0.05

½ medium onion – small dice — $0.37

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes — $1.49

1 tbsp. smoked paprika — $0.04

1 cinnamon stick — $0.12

1 large apple, such as golden delicious – cut into ½ inch dice — $0.69

¼ cup golden raisins — $0.38

½ cup sour cream — $0.60

Chopped parsley — $0.16

Total cost of entire meal = $14.71

Okay, so this recipe has more than a handful of steps, but isn’t as difficult as it seems. Just make sure to read the entire recipe before getting started.

Cook off the rice like you usually would. I always use a 2 to 1 ratio, but it’s best to follow the directions on the package. Allow the rice to completely cool and then set it aside for later.

For the beef mixture, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet, add onion and sauté until translucent — about five minutes. Add garlic and sauté for an additional 1-minute. Add ground beef and cook until no raw pieces remain. Season with smoked paprika, salt and pepper and allow the mixture to completely cool.

For the cabbage, start off by bringing a large stockpot to a boil. With a small pairing knife, cut the inner core out of the cabbage, so as the cabbage boils the leaves will easily peel off.  Plunge the whole head of cabbage into the boiling water and allow it to boil for about five minutes. After five minutes, the leaves should begin to peel back, soften and feel pliable. Remove 12 -14 large leaves from the cabbage and dry them on towels. Allow the leaves to cool completely.

For the sauce, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil and add onion and sauté until translucent — about five minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, smoked paprika, and cinnamon stick. Cook over medium heat until the sauce has reduced and the flavors have combined — about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add diced raw apple and golden raisins. Remove the cinnamon stick. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and then set it aside.

Now that all the steps are complete, you are ready for stuffing. Mix the plain rice and the ground beef mixture together until well combined. Season mixture with salt and pepper if necessary. Take each cabbage leaf and cut a V-shape where the bottom core is to help aid with stuffing (reference the picture above.) Put about 1/3 cup of the mixture in each leaf and roll tightly like you would a burrito.

Cover the bottom of your baking dish with about ½ cup of sauce. Add each finished rolled cabbage bundle into your sauced baking dish (reference picture below.) Cover the stuffed cabbage with remaining sauce and cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake the stuffed cabbage in a pre-heated *350 oven for 90 minutes. This may seem like a long time, but the cabbage needs this long to cook to become soft and fork tender.

Top each finished stuffed cabbage portion with 2 tbsp. of sour cream and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Makes 10-12 stuffed cabbage rolls.

Claire’s Culinary Connection

FOOD: It’s Spring! Where are the tomatoes?

April 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

BY Kathleen Nixon
April 6, 2012
Falls Church Times Staff

The warm weather start to the spring has brought out many folks to the Falls Church Farmers Market and no one can be happier than the vendors. At the same time the questions start as to when will we see some of the summer time fruits and vegetables? This happens every year as the warmer weather starts and we are accustomed to seeing all kinds of out of season fruits in the supermarkets like strawberries in January. You will find some tomatoes in the Farmers Market as many vendors start tomatoes in their greenhouses. For now you will have to wait a bit for your vine ripened tomatoes, strawberries and stone fruit. Since the weather has been so warm the Falls Church Farmers Market will be opening earlier this year on April 14th, but even before then some of the summer vendors are already part of the Farmers Market including are Clear Spring Creamery, and Sinplicity Catering.

There are some winter Farmers Market vendors who will not be returning for the summer season and you will want to catch them in the next two weeks, such as Cold Country Salmon which offers vacuum   packed salmon that is caught fresh by a father and son duo. You can purchase salmon now and shares of salmon for later similar to a CSA and they will be delivered at the end of the summer.

Some winter vendors have put on a serious marketing push to be able to come back in the summer and the competition has been fierce. Interesting tactics such as marketing flyers at stands to tell Farmers Market Director Howard Herman to let them stay or just telling customers to campaign the Director in person. The Farmers Market will be expanding some of its space to the sidewalk area along Park Avenue to accommodate the expansion of the market for a few, new vendors. The final list of new vendors is still being reviewed and there is an extensive waiting list. The biggest challenge is making sure that there is enough variety in the market to ensure good crowds for all the vendors to be successful. Which of the winter vendors would you like to see come back for the summer session?

The Farmer’s Market Chef program now in its fourth year will be returning on April 28th with Farmer’s Market Chef favorite Tracy O’Grady from Willow. There will be monthly Farmers Market Chef demonstrations from April to November with some special programs including two educational programs. The first will be the Culinary Program from Falls Church High School in neighboring Fairfax County and the Culinary Program of DC Central Kitchen with the Kitchen Director Chef Rock of Hell’s Kitchen fame.

As gas prices continue to go up, so will the cost to the farmers to produce their goods and bring them to market. The same pain you are feeling at the gas pump they are feeling triple fold to produce the fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and baked goods that you have been waiting for all winter.

FOOD: Slow Cooked Lentils with Burrata Cheese

By Claire McConnell
March 30, 2012
Special to Falls Church Times

There are times in which I feel it could be absolutely possible to be a vegetarian and then I remember how much I love meat, but there are those instances in which I have meals that are so satisfying I could renounce meat forever. This is one of those meals.

Lentils are the perfect balance of healthy and hearty. They are an excellent source of folic acid and potassium, and a good source of iron and phosphorus. They are high in protein ( 9g per 100 g), low in fat and calories (0.4g and 116 cal), moderately high in fiber (3.9g) and best of all low in cost. One 16 ounce bag of dried lentils, enough to feed 4 people with leftovers cost me $1.59. This dish can be served by itself with the added protein from the cheese or as a side dish with roasted fish such as salmon or even with roasted chicken. I think the richness from the cheese works so well with the creaminess from the lentils.

What is Burrata cheese? Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. It is amazing! Really, when I discovered Burrata a few years ago I felt like my life was forever changed. And yours will be too. Burrata is available at the Falls Church Farmers Market at the Blue Ridge Dairy stand.

Equipment: Large Dutch oven (similar to a Le Creuset)

2 Tbsp olive oil — $0.10
1 medium onion – small dice — $0.75
1 large carrot – small dice — $0.35
2 garlic cloves – smashed and chopped — $0.04
1 – 16 ounce bag dried green or black lentils (washed in a bowl of water) — $1.59
32 ounces chicken or vegetable stock — $1.83
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar — $0.08
2 tsp salt — $0.02
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper — $0.02

2 balls of Burrata cheese – sliced in half — $4.99


Heat 2 tbsp of oil in Dutch oven on medium heat, add diced onion and sauté until translucent about 5 minutes. Add carrot and garlic and cook for an addition minute. Add lentils and cover with stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer (medium low) and cover with a lid. Cook lentils until tender about 1 hour. When lentils are finished cooking they should be creamy and liquid should be reduced but not completely gone. Season lentils after they are cooked. One of the biggest mistake people make when cooking legumes is seasoning them before they are cooked. The protein becomes tough and doesn’t cook properly. Finish with red wine vinegar. This gives the lentils a touch of acidity which is essential in achieving balance.

Spoon the lentils into bowls and serve with one half of Burrata per portion. Top each portion of Burrata with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.

Makes 4 large portions

This meal is vegetarian and gluten free. Remove the Burrata for a vegan and lactose free meal. Replace with roasted fish for a healthier lactose free option.

FOOD: A Different Kind of New Year!

December 30, 2011 by · Comments Off on FOOD: A Different Kind of New Year! 

December 30, 2011
Special to Falls Church Times

When most people think of New Year, images of thousands of people in Times Square NYC, fireworks and grand parties fill their head. For me, food is a big part of New Year. Some of you may be aware of Lunar New Year which many Asians celebrate between January and February and food is a huge part of that celebration. Many families will gather together over a lavish meal with a variety of meats, poultry and rice and noodle dishes. Red envelopes filled with gifts and wishes for a grand new year are passed around and fun games are played to end a joyous night.

So I polled my family for some of their favorite places for food to ring in the New Year. For all of you, who may be looking for a different type of celebration, feel free to give one of these places a try on December 31st or January 1st.

Peking Gourmet Inn: This is a staple for the Falls Church area, and nothing says welcome to the New Year like a deliciously cooked Peking duck, jumbo shrimp, Chinese broccoli and noodles. Be forewarned though, reservations are a must if you are trying to come here on New Year’s Day.

Peking Gourmet Inn, 6029 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041

XO Taste: If you’re in the mood for Hong Kong style roast duck, definitely give them place a try. The duck here is so succulent and the skin is so crispy. One of the best parts, the duck is chopped up for you. We love to order the duck as carry out and enjoy the meal at home.

XO Taste, 6124 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044

Full Kee: They will undoubtedly have a special lobster and Dungeness crab dish available for New Year. I highly recommend getting both in their signature salt and pepper sauce. Nothing compliments the shellfish better than the garlicky, salty and slightly spicy coating.

Full Kee, 5830 Columbia Pik

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e, Falls Church, VA 22041

Mark’s Duck House: Now it may seem strange to go to a duck house for pork, but they offer an amazing crispy pork dish. It’s very similar to roast pork, but the skin is prepared in such a way where the skin is superbly crisp and salty. I had ordered a 12lb crispy baby pig for my Christmas Eve dinner and it was a huge hit with the family!

Mark’s Duck House, 6184 Arlington Blvd # A, Falls Church, VA 22044-2902

Fortune: No celebration is complete without Dim Sum, and Fortune is one place that not only offers a great variety, but it’s extremely savory and fresh. Dim Sum normally is served starting at 11 a.m., so get there early and be prepared for a wait.

Fortune 6249 Sevens Corners Ctr, Falls Church, VA 22044

Honey Pig: For those who are going out on New Year’s Eve and want a good meal post party, Honey Pig is your go to spot. It’s open 24/7 and who doesn’t want to ring in another wonderful year with Korean BBQ?

Honey Pig, 7220 Columbia Pike, Ste C, Annandale, VA 22003

Eden Center: There are countless bakeries at Eden Center that offer an amazing array of sweets to satiate any sweet tooth. The most appropriate dessert for New Year is the moon cake, and you can order them with either custard filling or mung bean filling.

Eden Center, 6763 Wilson Boulevard  Falls Church, VA 22044

We love to give thanks for all the blessings of the previous year and always look forward to a prosperous and healthy New Year. I hope that the list above gives you some different suggestions for how to ring in the New Year this year. According to the Lunar Calendar, next year is the year of the Dragon which is supposed to be a lucky year for a lot of people. And what an awesome way start off a lucky year than with food. As my cousin Rick Holzheimer reminded me, rice and noodles are very important to Asians and are a sign of good luck of fortune. So feel free try out some new places and Happy New Year to all.

If you would like to know more about Ra Chan and her food travels, you can follow her blog The Eating Chronicles.


FOOD: Potato Latkes from Argia’s Adam Roth

December 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Adam Roth, Argia's

By Kathleen Nixon

Falls Church Times Staff

December 23, 2011

Our final installment of local chef’s favorite holiday recipes comes from Adam Roth, co-owner of Argia’s with Aimee Suyehiro and co-owner of Red, White and Bleu with his brother James Roth.  Adam mentioned one evening that his favorite traditional holiday meal was with potato latkes.  “As a kid, they would smell up the whole house, so you knew presents were coming,” shares Adam.  His recipe is a take-off on his Mom’s latke recipe. “Latkes (or potato pancakes) are traditionally served during the Hanukkah holiday celebration commemorating the “miracle” where one day’s amount of oil in the Holy Temple burned and lasted for eight days. This is why we eat things fried in oil,” says Adam.

Potato Latke with Sour Cream

1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled
1/4 cup finely chopped white onions or shallots
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons flour (or more) or matzo meal (during Passover)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

In a food processor grate the potatoes or if by hand use the largest grate holes. Place grated potatoes in a seive to drain excess liquid over a bowl. Let mixture drain for 15 minutes. Pour off liquid from the bowl but leave the white potato starch that settles in the bottom of the bowl.

To that starch add onions, eggs, flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt and freshly ground pepper. Return drained potatoes to this mixture and toss to combine.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking pan with paper towels. When you are ready to eat, in a large skillet heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium high heat until hot.

Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of potato mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes a side; latkes should be golden and crisp on both sides. Eat right away or keep warm in oven.

Serve with applesauce or sour cream, chopped chives or cottage cheese mixed with sour cream.



124 North Washington Street

Falls Church, VA 22046

(703) 534-1033


What to do with the leftovers?

November 25, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

By Kathleen Nixon

November 25, 2011

Falls Church Times Staff

Now that the big food day is over, the question now is: what to do with all the leftovers? You have shopped, prepared and presented all of this glorious food, but how many times can you reheat and eat it? Don’t get me wrong I love turkey sandwiches and reheating gravy and mashed potatoes but after a day or so, you would like to see these great dishes take on a second act.

With this in mind, I asked two of our local phenomenal chef’s Tracy O’Grady of Willow and Steve Mannino of Rustico to share with me their ideas of what to do with our Thanksgiving leftovers. Tracy came up with Turkey Stuffing Shepherd’s Pie and Steve blew me away with his Mashed Potato Chocolate cake.  If you don’t feel so inclined to do either of these, please consider at least  making a broth out of your turkey carcass and use it for soup or stew with your remaining turkey meat.

Broth has seems to fallen out of favor in our society because it takes so long to prepare but I firmly believe there is nothing better for our cooking or health than homemade broths. When I am feeling particularly frazzled, I will set aside a day of the weekend to make a broth so that the house smells heavenly and I have quarts of great broth sitting in my freezer to add to any dish. Many of us grew up on broths from bouillon cubes or from a can, but these miss many of the minerals and nutrients that come from the bones that are part of any great broth. The critical component of making a broth is time – just letting the bones simmer in a pot on the stove for hours – preferably at least 6 hours but more like 8. This doesn’t mean you have to sit and watch it, just let it simmer while you do other things around the house. I really liked these two methods of making broth from Cooking for Engineers and Cheap Cooking.

Now if you want to use more of the leftovers, Tracy O’Grady Chef and Owner of Willow Restaurant created this recipe for us using many of the ingredients that we will have left over from our Thanksgiving meals.

Turkey Stuffing Sheppard’s Pie by Tracy O’Grady – Willow Restaurant

Serves 6

Bake in an 8”x10” earthenware dish, dimensions do not need to be exact


4 cups picked turkey meat, use both dark and white or whatever is leftover

2 cups leftover gravy

1-2 cups turkey broth made for another meal of turkey soup, cook the turkey carcass very slowly over night in water with mirepoix of celery, carrot and onion

½-1 cup left over mashed potatoes

1 cup leftover glazed or roasted carrots

1 small onion, diced and sautéed until tender

2 stalks of celery, diced and sautéed until tender

4 sage leaves, roughly chopped

3-4 cups leftover stuffing

Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

  • Use leftover cranberry sauce as an accompaniment
  • Use leftover green bean as an accompaniment


Heat the gravy and mashed potatoes together whisking until smooth, add in turkey stock to the desired consistency.  The gravy mixture can be as thick or brothy as desired.  Fold in the turkey meat, carrots, onions, celery, sage, salt and pepper and place in the earthenware dish.  Spread the leftover stuffing evenly over the top of the stew (if the stuffing is too dry add some of the turkey stock).  Cover the Sheppard’s pie with foil and place in a 350* preheated oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until fairly hot.  Remove the foil and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the stuffing is crispy and the pie is hot and bubbly inside.

I had always tried to think of ways to recreate something with mashed potatoes so when Steve Mannino shared his family recipe of Mashed Potato Chocolate Cake I was overjoyed and intrigued. Caution: this is not a recipe to use with garlic or cheesy mashed potatoes.


Chocolate-Potato Cake by Steve Mannino of Rustico
Makes one Bundt cake.


2 cups sugar
2/3 cups butter, softened
2 eggs, separated
1 cup skinless mashed potatoes, such as peeled Idaho potatoes mashed with cream, butter, and salt
1 cup whole milk
½ cup cocoa powder (such as Hershey’s)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts such as chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds (to be folded into the batter)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using egg beaters or a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed. Add the egg yolks and beat until incorporated, about a minute. Blend in the potatoes and then the milk until thoroughly mixed. The mixture should have a thin mashed potato consistency at this point.

In another bowl, combine the cocoa, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon (if using). Fold these dry ingredients into the batter. Add more flour if the batter seems too loose—it should be the consistency of regular cake or brownie batter.

Using egg beaters or a stand mixer beat the egg whites on high speed until they form stiff peaks. Fold into the cake batter. Beat in the vanilla, and then stir in the chopped nuts (if using).

Pour into a greased Bundt cake pan and bake approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the cake and if it comes out clean, it’s ready to eat. Frost with the cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until the mixture reaches desired sweetness and smoothness. Mix in the vanilla extract and set aside.

Rustico’s Fall Salad

November 18, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

By Kathleen Nixon
November 18, 2011
Falls Church Times Staff

As the leaves are turning their vibrant colors, we start to miss some of the colorful salads that enticed us during the summer months.  We still have many wonderful ingredients available to make salads to complement any meal we just have to bring a little imagination to them. Some of the best ingredients for fall salads include apples which are plentiful this time of year and will be so until early winter.  Steve Mannino of Rustico created this wonderful fall salad which is great for any meal or your special Thanksgiving meal next week.

Rustico’s Fall Chopped Salad

Serves: 4

Dressing Ingredients:

2 cups apple cider, reduced to 1 cup

1/3 cup apple cider vinaigrette

2 oz honey

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Juice of half a lemon

1 T whole grain mustard

1 cup canola oil


1. Combine all ingredients except oil in a blender and mix on high for 30 seconds

2. Put blender on low speed and slowly add oil until dressing is creamy in texture

3. Remove and store dressing in an air tight container for a week

Salad Ingredients:

2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped into 1/8 inch wide strips

1 red apple, small diced then put in water with lemon juice

1 green apple, small dice then put in water with lemon juice

12 leaves fresh parsley, chopped into fine strips

1 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

3 leaves fresh sage, cut into thin strips

½ cup carrots, shredded

¼ cup red onion, small dice

1 cup granola plus 1/4c for garnish

¼ cup celery leaves


  1. Toss together all salad the ingredients (except for 1/4c of granola and celery leaves) in a large bowl.
  2. Just before serving combine salad ingredients with dressing and serve immediately
  3. Divide salad among 4 bowls and garnish with granola and celery leaves

You can also add smoked turkey, grilled chicken, steak or even salmon to turn this salad into a full meal.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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