In what has become a delicious tradition during Christmas week, we turn the Diversions page over to some of our chef friends in Hernando County, who, in the spirit of holiday giving, graciously share some of their exquisite recipes.
Our thanks to chefs Kelly Foley of Duke's American Grill and Sports Brewery in Spring Hill, Kevin Howe of the Palace Grand in Spring Hill, John Carlone of Farmer John's Key West Cafe in Brooksville and Anita Bosworth of Anita's Restaurant in Spring Hill for sharing their creative sides.
You'll find that these recipes are fairly easy to make and use ingredients that can be found in the supermarket.
Good luck, and have a wonderful holiday.
The Dawn of Pizza
From Anita's Restaurant, 3095 Anderson Snow Road, Spring Hill. (352) 593-4966.
Owner Anita Bosworthsays this healthy dish made from fresh ingredients is among her restaurant's most popular appetizers.
1 ounce sliced onions
2 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 ounce julienne sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 ounce artichoke hearts
5 ounces fresh baby spinach
3-4 ounces marinara sauce
2 ounces ricotta cheese
4 ounces shredded pizza cheese mix
Whole-grain flatbread (can be purchased at any grocery store)
Arugula salad ingredients
6 ounces arugula
½ ounce olive oil
1 ounce freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Saute onions to a golden brown, add mushrooms and saute. Add tomatoes, garlic, artichoke hearts and spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted. Drain well.
Toast flatbread to a light brown. Spread marinara sauce first and lay a thin layer of ricotta cheese on top of the sauce. Top with sauteed vegetables. Sprinkle cheese mixture on top and bake to a golden brown.
Toss ingredients for arugula salad. Top pizza with the salad.
Duke's Kitchen Sink Pot Roast
From Duke's American Grill and Sports Brewery, 1320 Commercial Way, Spring Hill. (352) 610-4388.
1 5- to 7-pound inside round roast, cut into 4-inch squares (leave the fat cap on)
1 gallon of water (as needed)
10 large carrots, peeled and cut
3 celery stalks, cut into thumb-sized pieces
2 yellow onions, cut
5 small red potatoes cut in half
1/3 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup white pepper
1 cup beef stock/paste (not bouillon)
Add all ingredients to a large stockpot and cook on high for 30 minutes. Lower heat to medium for three hours and add water accordingly.
Pecan Streusel Sweet Potato Pie
From the Palace Grand, 275 Della Court, Spring Hill. (352) 683-7752.
This recipe is a variation of an old Southern favorite from chef Kevin Howe.
1 homemade or store-bought pie shell
For streusel topping:
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/4 cup course chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For pie filling:
1 or 2 large garnet yams (sweet potatoes); enough to yield 1 cup of puree
2 large eggs
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon allspice
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
Precook the pie shell at 375 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes until light brown. (To prevent bubbling and over-browning, cover the bottom and sides of the shell with aluminum foil and fill with just enough rice to weigh down the center). Ovens vary, so watch it closely.
Prepare the streusel by placing the brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon in a bowl and mix. Set this aside for later.
Prepare the filling by baking the sweet potato(es) for about 55 minutes until soft. Cool and peel. Mash with a fork or puree the pulp in a food processor until smooth. Place 1 cup of puree into a mixing bowl. Blend in eggs, brown sugar and salt. Add the cinnamon, ginger and allspice. Add the cream and mix well. Pour the mixture into the precooked pie shell and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and evenly spread the pecan streusel over the top. Place the pie back in the oven and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes. To keep the top from browning too much; cover lightly with foil and use a lower oven rack.
Serve with a spoonful of sweetened whipped cream.
Farmer John's Key West Crepes From Farmer John's Key West Cafe, 966 E Jefferson St., Brooksville (352) 754-8787.
For this recipe, owner John Carlone, above, suggests adding a small amount of Myers's Platinum White Rum for an extra kick of flavor.
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 1/2 cups cake flour
Blend eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and butter well and add flour. Using a 3-ounce ladle, spoon into a greased, medium hot, nonstick skillet and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook for a few seconds more.
Saute half a cup each of fresh mango, pineapple and papaya in 2 tablespoons of butter and add 1 tablespoon of sugar and a dash of coconut rum. Lace mixture over crepes and top with whipped cream. Serves four.