Butternut Squash Lasagna Rollups

Traditionally, our family makes the journey to Nantucket Island the day before Thanksgiving, arriving from all parts of the country. Besides the glass of wine they are handed when they walk through the door, they look forward to the “traditional” night before Thanksgiving dinner which includes Butternut Squash Lasagna Rollups with pumpkin sauce, an entree of either tenderloin, roasted chicken or Nantucket Bay scallops, and a FUN and fabulous salad, different each year.  The one part of the dinner that never changes is the butternut squash lasagna rollups!

They are easy to make and great for preparing ahead of time, while your head is spinning with the hundreds of ingredients you hope you have for the BIG next day, Thanksgiving!

This crowd pleaser is comfort food at its very best. Think football season!  I brought these to a Super Bowl party last year styled on a 32" long slender platter.  What a hit!  But the hit for me was to see the platter empty within a half hour of our arrival.  I love that.

 

This serving platter is very special to me.  I purchased it from a local artisan in Middlebury, VT while our son was attending Middlebury College.  It conjures up wonderful memories.  I try to buy a little something everywhere I travel. Serving pieces, like foods, can bring you back to a time and place that is part of this wonderful journey called life. 

This serving platter is very special to me.  I purchased it from a local artisan in Middlebury, VT while our son was attending Middlebury College.  It conjures up wonderful memories.  I try to buy a little something everywhere I travel. Serving pieces, like foods, can bring you back to a time and place that is part of this wonderful journey called life. 


Ingredients

  • 1 Box lasagna strips (I like Del Cecco!)
  • 1 Package of cubed butternut squash
  • 1 Jar Cucina Antica Tuscany pumpkin pasta sauce (Whole Foods)
  • ¼ Cup chopped parsley or parsley flowers
  • ¼ Cup grated parmesan (optional)
  • 1 Small box baby spinach
  • 1 Box MontChevre’ crumbled goat cheese
  • S & P to taste
I love, love this sauce!  I happened upon it a few years ago, and it has been my go-to since.  When you're cooking for Thanksgiving, it's okay to short-cut with a delicious jar of quality sauce the night before!

I love, love this sauce!  I happened upon it a few years ago, and it has been my go-to since.  When you're cooking for Thanksgiving, it's okay to short-cut with a delicious jar of quality sauce the night before!

  1. I box of long lasagna strips. I never use the precooked. I can’t really say why except that they just don’t seem right to me. And they are challenging to roll without breaking. If you want less pasta, you can use the shorter lasagna strips. You will just have adjust your filling amounts and make them smaller. Or just fold over in half like a loose ravioli.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.  I like them on the al dente side as they are firmer to work with and hold up better when stuffed and rolled.
  3. Drain in cold water.  Do not leave in strainer!  Immediately remove each one, smoothing it out so it’s not wrinkled
  4. Lay each strip flat on a long piece of Aluminum foil. 
  5. Cover each layer with foil before the next layer
  6. Begin by smearing each lasagna strip sparingly with Pumpkin Sauce
  7. Spoon small clumps of goat cheese, 2-3 tsps, crumbled or from a softened log, per strip.  You will get the hang of it as you go along!
  8. Layer with baby spinach leaves washed and patted dry
  9.  Spoon on mashed butternut squash, 3-4 tsps, per strip. 
  10.  Season with Salt and Pepper
  11.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese (optional)
  12.  Gently roll up being careful to not let ingredients come out on sides.  You will learn amounts only by doing this.
  13.  Spread a thin layer of pumpkin sauce in bottom of 9X12 baking dish, enough to coat pan.
  14.  Place roll ups in dish and top each roll up with the sauce.
  15. Cover and Bake at 300 degrees until heated through, about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, remove foil and let cool. 
  16. Serve 1- 2 per dish with extra sauce if desired.
  17. Garnish with parsley, either chopped and sprinkled all over or dotted with a parsley flowers, as shown.
  18. Serve with Fresh grated Parmesan cheese. VOILA!

Nantucket Island Cranberry Bogs in AUTUMN

There is nothing more spectacular than autumn on the island of Nantucket; the colors of the foliage, the peaceful ebb and flow of the tides on the quieted beaches, the celebratory sound of the church bells harkening the hundreds of weddings each weekend, the genius minds who come together for The Nantucket Project, the farms lushly displaying their brilliantly colorful autumnal yields and finally, the celebration of the 160 year old cranberry bogs, the epically fascinating cranberry bogs, culminating in the annual Cranberry Festival.  It’s an amazing industry, with an incredible history, and one that has certainly has made us appreciate that glass of cranberry juice we pour or that can of cranberry sauce we open!

The History of the Nantucket Cranberry Bog

Cranberry bogs in Nantucket began in 1857 and grew to an incredible 234 acres!  Today, they produce 2 million pounds of cranberries per year!  Who could believe this on this tiny island 30 miles out to sea which measures a mere 14 by 3.5 miles!?  Can you imagine that until 1959 it was the largest contiguous bog in the entire world?  Then, water conservation became a priority, thereby necessitating the construction of watering ditches. Subsequently, this caused a sub-division of the bogs into smaller, more water efficient units.

 

How are Cranberries Grown?

Cranberries are water-harvested. What does this mean? They are grown on vines tucked into beds of sand and gravel and carefully cultivated throughout the year in bogs. A sophisticated irrigation system floats them in water to facilitate easy harvesting. The floating cranberries benefit from increased sun exposure, which increases their phytonutrient content giving them their gorgeous bright red color, and giving us the health benefits of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. So cook, cook, cook and drink, drink drink with cranberries!  

Every year we walk the bogs with a proud fascination with this incredible natural habitat on our favorite little spot in the sea. No way could we have imagined the drama of this industry, until we actually experienced it. Our daughter, Brooke Lyons Osswald, visiting from LA, enjoys a stroll around the bogs appreciating nature's bounty....


Turkey Cranberry Chili

  • 2 pounds of ground turkey
  • 6 cups Pomodoro Sauce   
    NOTE: I always have this on hand either in the freezer or I make it fresh. You can also substitute Rao’s Sensitive Sauce in a jar. It’s delicious!
  • 2 tbs Coconut oil
  • 2 tbs Ghee
  • 1 can black olives drained and cut in half
  • 1 c chopped parsley
  • 4 large carrots chopped and steamed al dente
  • 2 cups butternut squash cooked (mashed or cubed)
  • 2 cups dried cranberries
  • 4 cups shredded fresh spinach
  • S&P to taste
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Cinnamon

Coat a frying pan with the Coconut oil and Ghee and cook the turkey until no longer pink. Drain water from it. In a 9x12 baking dish combine turkey with sauce, olives, carrots, butternut squash and cranberries.

Season with S&P to taste (I’m heavy on the pepper!), turmeric and cinnamon. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes covered. Remove from oven, fold in the spinach. Cover and return to oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit covered for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


Penny’s Cranberry Sauce with Walnuts and Orange

  • 1 12oz bag of cranberries or 3 cups cranberries
  • 1/2 c water 
  • ½ c orange juice
  • 1 c sugar
  • Zest of one naval orange
  • 1/4 c chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp Cointreau (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  1. Bring water, orange juice and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Add cranberries, return to boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes on low, stirring.
  4. Remove from heat
  5. Stir in Cointreau (optional)
  6. Fold in Walnuts
  7. Add Cinnamon
  8. Cover and cool completely at room temperature (while it thickens)
  9. When cool, sprinkle with orange zest
  10. Refrigerate***(I make this a day or two before as a time-saver!)  BE CREATIVE WITH HOW YOU SERVE IT!  I don't like it running all over the plate making the foods red, so I offer different serving options, including tiny little dipping bowls.  Think out of the box! The glasses make for an awesome presentation on a buffet!

Cranberry Stuffing Sausage Balls  ( giant wow!)

  • 1 lb Breakfast Sausage
  • 1/4 c Dried cranberries, plumped  
    * Bring 1 cup of orange juice to a boil. Pour over cranberries, cover and let sit for 10 mins. Strain.
  • ½ tsp Ground sage
  • S&P to taste
  • 1 Small onion finely chopped
  • 1 Stalk celery finely chopped
  • ½ c Mild Cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Box of Chicken Stove Top Stuffing *Prepare according to instructions on box
  • 1c Chicken Stock (low sodium)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Brown sausage until no longer pink. Remove from pan
  3. Add onion, celery, S&P and sage and sauté until soft
  4. Toss sausage, onion and celery mixture and remaining ingredients into a bowl and mix well
  5. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil
  6. Scoop consistent sized balls, the size of a tablespoon, and place on cookie sheet
  7. Bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Skewer and arrange decoratively on platter with cranberry sauce in the center. *** Recipe for cranberry sauce above
  9. Garnish with orange peels

Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Stuffing

  • Package of 2 pork tenderloins
  • 1 Box of Savory Herb Stovetop stuffing
  • 1 c dried cranberries ***plumped as above
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • Kitchen string
  • 3 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • Fresh rosemary

  1. Prepare stuffing according to directions
  2. Mix together with plumped cranberries
  3. Add 2 tbsps chopped rosemary
  4. Butterfly tenderloins and pound thin
  5. Add 1-2 cups stuffing mixture in the centers (depending on the size of your meat)
  6. Fold up both sides and tie with kitchen string every 2 inches
  7. Wedge fresh sprigs of rosemary between pork and string
  8. Coat skillet with EVOO
  9. Add 2 tbsp chopped Rosemary to pan
  10. Add tenderloins and sear on 3 sides
  11. Remove from skillet and place in baking pan in oven for  15-20 minutes or until temp is 145.
  12. Remove from oven and place on cutting board, loosely tented with foil for 10 minutes before slicing.

Cranberry and Pear Smoked Gouda Salad

  • Fresh baby spinach leaves
  • Endive
  • Smoked Gouda spears
  • Clementine slices
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Dried cranberries
  • Sliced red Anjou pear

Creamy Cranberry Balsamic Dressing

  • 1c EVOO
  • 1/2c Balsamic vinegar
  • 1c Jellied cranberry sauce

Mix in Vitamix or Cuisinart to desired consistency (I prefer a thicker dressing). Assemble salad ingredients decoratively on a plate, as shown, drizzle with dressing and serve!  BIG HIT in our house!

The Sankaty Shandy

~Nantucket Island~

THE BEST BEACH BEER! There is nothing quite like an ice cold, thirst quenching drink at the beach on a hot summer day, while lazing away the hours with friends and family. The perfect prescription for this is a SHANDY, a traditional beer cocktail, a “beer tail”, which generally consists of a 50-50 mixture of a lager beer and a fizzy, a carbonated “something”, such as a sparkling lemonade, ginger beer, ginger ale, fruit juice or cordial, served in a glass. Through the years, this popular drink took Western Europe by storm with exciting creations emblematic of the geography and associated traditions, such as the Singapore Kip Lin (lager + tonic water) or the French Monaco Beer(lager + lemonade + grenadine) or the Italian tango…ooh, la la, (lager + gooseberry cordial) or the German and Portugese Diesel (lager + Coco-Cola.) In honor of our Nantucket Island, I’ve created the SANKATY SHANDY, a mix of my personal favorites, lager + cucumber with mint or lime!

On the island of Nantucket, we pay great homage to the legendary Cisco Brewers, a winery, brewery and distillery that produces an impressively awesome selection of world sought-after wine, spirits and beer. Their popular Sankaty Light Lager is delicious for a day in the sun. I’ve paired it with one my all-time favorites, but difficult to come by, the NEW sparkling Cucumber & Mint Presse’ from the wonderful Belvoir Fruit Farms.  This delicious “bubbly” is made from 100% organic ingredients and is non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan, with no preservatives, sweeteners or artificial colors. Mixing it 50-50 with a slice of cucumber, lime or mint sprig on the side, yields an invitingly colorful icy “beer tail” that will have you smacking your lips with delight and probably reaching for another!  Plan in advance, as this is a seasonal product not always available. But, fear not....there is always a backup....

Equally as delicious, and more readily available on the island is DRY Sparkling in cucumber flavor. You always have to have a Plan A and Plan B when “on island”!  The only thing we never need a plan B for is the BEER from Cisco Brewers, which deliciously and plentifully flows day after day, week after week, year after year, decade after decade……And that you can be sure of!

The "Bloody Whaler"

Legend has it that the Bloody Mary originated in 1921 at a New York Bar in Paris, which later became Harry’s New York Bar, a Paris hangout frequented by the likes of Ernest Hemingway and friends. I Love Paris, I love Hemingway and I love a Bloody Mary! Over the years I perfected a “Bloody” I named“Lobsta’ Bloody Merry”, a Bloody Mary I make with tomato juice made from scratch, celery stalk and a skewer of lobster pieces, lemon wedges and mini sweet red peppers. It became our “Merry” Christmas Morning tradition, serving as the perfect Christmas Eve hangover cure until gifts were opened and breakfast was served! I started doing this because we always had so much left over lobster from our Christmas Eve “Feast of the Seven Fishes”. 

We had great fun debuting our “Lobsta Bloody Merry” on the Martha Stewart Living Radio Show in 2012 on a segment we did on “healthy” drinking. 


 
 

We’ve had such great fun with the “Lobsta’ Bloody Merry” that I decided to create a brother for “Merry”, a more nautical version for summers on the island of Nantucket.  I named it the “Bloody Whaler” to commemorate Nantucket’s fascinating whaling history. For this drink I use clamato juice, as in the “Bloody Caesar” created by a Canadian in 1969, who was inspired by his favorite dish in Italy, Spaghetti alle vongole, or, spaghetti with tomato sauce and clams.  My version incorporates fresh fish plucked from Moby Dick’s sea, a good compliment of spices and citrus and clamato juice, a nod to Nantucket’s clamming industry.  Since we are usually on the run each morning in the summer, I opted to go ahead and make my Bloody Whaler a meal-in-itself and finish it off with a skewered fresh lobster tail (which looks like a whale’s tail!), and a shrimp, cucumber and lime kebob and a tall fluffy celery stalk for flavor and presentation!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ounces of Tito’s Vodka (or more if you like)
  • 4 ounces of Clamato juice
  • 1-2 tsps Gold’s horseradish (or to taste) 
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 dash Celery salt
  • 1 fresh squeezed Lemon wedge
  • 2 fresh squeezed Lime wedges
  • 1 Lime wedge for toothpick
  • 1 tsp Cholula Chili Lime Hot Sauce
  • 11/4-pound Steamed lobster for tail meat *** 
  • 1-2 Large shrimp (depending on size available)
  • 2 Slices English cucumber
  • 1 12” Bamboo Skewer
  • 1 4” Toothpick
  • 1 Celery stalk with leaves (garnish)
  • Old Bay Seasoning (for rim)
  • 1 cup ice
  • Tall glass

PREPARE THE LOBSTER

  1. 3 Gallon Pot filled with salted water to about 2 inches
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Run live lobster under cold water, removing rubber bands (use gloves!)
  4. Place lobster into pan with lid on 
  5. Cook over high heat about15-18 minutes
  6. At 7-10 minutes lift lid and rotate the lobsters, if cooking several, so they will cook evenly
  7. The lobster will turn bright orange and the meat will turn from translucent to opaque white
  8. Check for doneness by cutting one open and checking color of meat or by testing the temp, which should be 180F
  9. Let cool
  10. Crack open and remove the meat from the entire lobster, saving all the parts

***Steaming is the best way to cook the lobster as it traps the flavor and produces the most tender meat.  OR, you can have your fishmonger steam the lobsters for you. OR, you can just buy the fresh cooked lobster tail meat at a good fish store, as many fisheries cook lobsters daily. However, buying them and steaming them yourself is the most economical way, especially if you are serving many.   


PREPARE THE RIM OF THE GLASS

  1. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of a tall glass and dip into a dish of
  2. Old Bay Seasoning, twirling it around until fully coated
  3. Let sit while mixing ingredients, being careful not to smudge it

MIX INGREDIENTS

  1. Combine the vodka, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, lemon, lime, Cholula chili lime hot sauce, Clamato juice and ice
  2. Stir, stir, stir
  3. Gently pour into desired glass over ice (I don't like a watery Bloody so I use a few cubes)
  4. Insert 12 inch Bamboo skewer with lobster tail proudly propped
  5. Top with 4 inch toothpick skewer with 1-2 shrimp, depending on size, cucumber, lime wedge
  6. VOILA!  Serves 1

NOTE: Use fresh lobster only. Frozen will not work, as they tend to be tough and challenging to eat.  Also, save all the parts of your picked lobster for your next breakfast! #lobsterbenedict #eggandlobsterflorentine #lobsteromelette