Butternut squash soup with brown butter and nutmeg crème

Winter squash is an amazingly delicious and versatile fruit, but it’s never better than in soups. Here butternut squash is slowly simmered until tender, then puréed until silky-smooth. It gives us an incredibly light soup, yet it’s also rich-tasting and creamy thanks to the texture of the squash.

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Leek tart with cured olives and aged Gruyère
Making savory tarts requires a bit of patience and an unhurried stint in the kitchen, but they are well worth the effort. To me tarts are a sophisticated comfort food that’s totally irresistible and one that I love spending time crafting.

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Butternut squash and leek latkes with pan-roasted cumin

I came up with this recipe for a Hanukkah feature I wrote in the 2010 holiday issue of Rockland Magazine.

Of course, the potato latke is de rigueur on any Hanukkah menu, but why not serve latkes with other seasonal ingredients, I wondered? That’s when sweet, delicate butternut squash came to mind… and this recipe was born.

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Mac and Cheese with braised leeks and asiagoThe first time I tasted macaroni and cheese, I was well into my twenties. The experience was entirely new — and entirely pleasing. How could it not be? After all, pasta and cheese is one of those superb pairings that delight just about everyone, regardless of their age, gender or background.

But if you were raised in a French household like I was, your only experience of pasta (“les nouilles”), would have been of limp, overcooked noodles tossed with a little butter and served alongside a steak — a far cry from the luscious mixture of creamy cheeses and macaroni that Kraft turned into an icon in 1937 with the “Kraft Dinner.”

Needless to say, I was eager to adopt my new homeland’s favorite comfort food as my own. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I adore all cheeses, regardless of how stinky, how aged or how moldy they might be!

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