Mustard and Maple-Glazed Butternut Squash stuffed with Farro and Winter Greens

Mustard Glazed Butternut Squash Stuffed with Farro and Winter Greens

Why do winter-season dinners feel more of a challenge to put together than summer ones? The days are darker, the evenings draw in, there isn’t quite as much fresh local produce at the store or farmer’s market, and maybe we don’t have the energy to get as creative as we’d like. But here’s the key: sticking with simple ingredients such as hardy winter squash, healthy farro and fresh greens, and then packing them with winning flavor combinations will reward you with a dinner as healthy and delicious as it is straightforward.

In this recipe, we’ve partnered with Maille Dijon Originale Mustard to create a hearty seasonal winter supper packed with nutrition and flavor. 

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Homemade Maple Mustard

Homemade Maple Mustard

If you like mustard, you seriously have to try making your own. It’s so much better than the jarred kind and it couldn’t be easier. Our Homemade Maple Mustard is a little sweet, a little spicy and tastes incredibly fresh. 

Yeah, I get it. The idea of homemade mustard is just a little bit precious. Bordering on the dreaded ‘artisanal’ label that plagues lovers of real, unpretentious food … but hear me out because this stuff is awesome and I really, really want you to make it.

The truth is, I think most things taste better homemade. Sure, jarred mustard can be good and I use it most of the time but for something really special (like a crazy-beautiful charcuterie board or a holiday ham), why not serve it with a condiment as special as the main dish? We knew we wanted to make Red Onion Jam with Wine, Honey and Thyme but we also wanted something spicy that would be good with charcuterie. And besides, I think there’s something cool and homesteader-ey about making something so inherently useful. 

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Chicken, Leeks and Spinach in a Creamy Wine Sauce

In our ongoing quest to resurrect interest in under-appreciated vegetables, I present this week’s subject: the leek.

We don’t get too excited about leeks in the U.S. but we should. They’re healthy, easy to grow*, cheap to buy, and best of all, really tasty.

Chicken, Leeks and Spinach in a Creamy Wine Sauce
Leeks, mushrooms, garlic, spinach, cream and white wine.

* Theoretically, and according to rumors I read on the internet. Matt and I, conversely, have zero luck growing leeks. Nada. Zilch. They sprout beautifully but then … nothing. They turn spindly and never really get very big. They end up more like thick scallions. It’s quite rude of them if you think about it, because here I am telling the world (our 5 readers, anyway, hello there *waves*) how great leeks are and they can’t even be bothered to make an effort in the garden. Oh well. It’s broccoli rabe this year, I’m telling you.

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Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs

Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs

Maple mustard chicken, infused with flavors and baked in the oven, is one of our simplest, most delicious and popular recipes. It’s all we crave when Autumn rolls in!

Some things are just difficult to explain.For example, how can one man be so attractive yet so clearly resemble an otter? (Yes, I am referring to Benedict Cumberbatch. Click the second link if you want to laugh for 45 minutes).

Also, how can I be so excited about Outlander, when GAME OF THRONES is back on Sunday! (Hey, I can see you making a face but the blog is called NERDS with Knives so it’s not like you were misled.)

And finally, how can the easiest dish to cook also be the most delicious thing ever? This sounds like hyperbole, which granted, I am guilty of a million times per day but I’m not yanking your chain here. This seriously might be the best weeknight dinner we’ve ever made.

Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs

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Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

Pork chops marinated in a spice brine, cooked to perfection and served with garlic-sauteed broccoli rabe and an apple-onion sauce. Chops don’t get much better than this. 

One of the things I love about living in Beacon is that it really feels like a community that is growing and changing in an interesting way. For a long time I felt this way about Brooklyn (where I had lived since the early 1990’s) but as wonderful as Brooklyn is, it’s just too damn expensive now for artists and creative people to do anything but hustle every day to make rent.

I know I’m the bazillionth person to complain about how amazing Brooklyn used to be, but I was incredibly lucky to be one of the crazy, hearty few who lived in East Williamsburg back when it was practically deserted. It was a startling, magical, bizarre, occasionally terrifying place back then, and my roommates and I had absolutely no idea what it would become.

In 1995, if you would have told me that one of the hippest restaurants in NYC was going to open two blocks away from my house, I would have laughed loudly enough to startle the poodle-sized rats that lived in the burned-out minivan abandoned outside my front door. All we knew at the time was that you could rent a 3,000 square foot loft for a few hundred dollars, but you had to install your own toilet and either evict or adopt any animals you found on the premises (I love you Special Ed).

So Beacon may not be able to boast quite the same level of grittiness (thankfully), but it does have a bit of that creatively experimental spirit. Case in point, on a rough-looking corner lot, quite a ways off Main Street, has opened one of the coolest new businesses in town, Barb’s Butchery. Run by a former math professor named Barbara Fisher, it’s exactly the kind of butcher shop you dream would open up in your neighborhood. She sources as much as possible directly from local farms and so far, everything we’ve cooked from there has been fantastic.

Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

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Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Thyme

Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Thyme

I like to think of myself as an organized person. I mean, I’m a film editor, for chrissakes. I basically organize millions of digital moments into a cohesive story for a living. So why is it that I cannot, for the life of me, plan ahead and shop for a week’s worth of recipes?

Is it because I was raised in New York City, where 24-hour bodegas and Korean markets permit, nay, encourage a person to decide at 11pm that they’re going to make a Chard Onion and Goat Cheese Tart even though there is neither chard, onion or goat cheese in the house? Why are you looking at me like I’m attempting to deflect blame for my questionable decisions? Ahem. Anyway, now I live in the boonies and that means I either have to:

A. Get organized and make a menu plan and corresponding shopping list at the beginning of each week.

B. Hit the lottery so I can hire a personal chef (one who allows me to post their recipes all over the internet and hover over their shoulder taking pictures as they cook).

C. Create delicious things that use pantry staples almost exclusively so I can continue my reckless and dangerously chaotic lifestyle.

Guess which one I chose?

I almost always have everything on hand for this recipe and, luckily, it also happens to be incredibly good. Obviously if  you eat chicken and enjoy crispy things, nothing’s going to beat real fried chicken but I think we can all agree that deep-frying is not really an option for an easy, healthy, weeknight dinner. This chicken though, is all those things and more. It gets great flavor from the tangy mustard, garlic and thyme and develops a crunchy, golden brown crust.

I also make a simple yogurt sauce to go with it (if I remember to make or buy yogurt), but it’s equally good with just a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of Maldon salt over the top.

Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Thyme

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