Wicked Good

07 Sep 2019

“By the pricking of my thumbs, something Wicked Good this way comes…”

Recipes and Photos by Kim Byer

It may be the to-die-for dessert of the season: our chocolate pavlova with mandarins. It’s make-ahead easy and spookily delicious.

But long before All Hallows’ Eve arrives, you’ll want to make a batch of tomato confit which will set you up for a few quick weeknight meals (think: pasta, chicken, pizza)! Similarly, the quick pickled red onions will not only make a colorful splash on your cheese board, but will charm their way onto your favorite sandwich, burger or salad. 

However, if you can try only one recipe (besides the pavlova– I mean who are we kidding?), make it the mushroom toast with smoked oyster spread. This mushroom mountain of umami wonder may even qualify for a meatless Monday meal. One thing is for sure, all these treats are mouthwatering and wicked good.

Tomato Confit with Burrata

Makes approximately 4 cups 

Tomatoes (4-6 cups of cherry and/or grape varieties)

1 cup olive oil 

1 ball burrata cheese (mozzarella ball with cream inside) 

Salt, freshly ground pepper and crushed red pepper

Fresh basil for sprinkling

Rustic bread for spreading

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Fill a casserole dish or baking pan with small tomatoes and roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check for doneness when skins are soft and juice is bubbling.
  2. Before serving, sprinkle with herbs and serve with torn burrata and toasted bread.

Note: Tomato confit will stay fresh for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Add confit to pasta, salads, eggs or as a topping for chicken, fish or pizza.


Fall Cheese & Pickle Board

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

3 cheeses (e.g. a Roquefort or blue cheese, a creamy goat or sheep or double cream, and a hard cheese such as manchego, aged cheddar or comte)

Fruit such as grapes, pears, apples, figs, apricots



Quick Pickled Red Onions (see recipe)


Bread or crackers 

Quick Pickled Red Onions

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup water

1 garlic clove, sliced 

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 teaspoon sugar 

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon pickling spice 

¾ cup apple cider vinegar 

½ cup white vinegar 

  1. Place onions into a medium-sized bowl or pint jar. 
  2. Bring remaining ingredients (except vinegars) to a boil. 
  3. Pour liquid over onions and add vinegars. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Store onions in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. 

Mushroom Toast with Smoked Oyster Spread

Serves 4-6 as an entrée

3 cups of mixed, fresh mushrooms (e.g. button, bella, shitake, portobello)

1 teaspoon soy sauce 

8 slices rustic or country bread, sliced thick and toasted

Fresh chives, thyme, or parsley, snipped

Smoked Oyster Spread 

Makes 1 cup 

1 8-ounce block of cream cheese 

1 tin of smoked oysters in oil 

1 teaspoon hot sauce (e.g. Texas Pete)

¼ teaspoon fish sauce (optional)


  1. To make spread, place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. 
  2. Spread smoked oyster spread onto toasted bread slices and top with sautéed mushrooms and herbs. Serve warm. 

Harvest Apple and Kale Salad 

Serves 4-6

1 large bunch lacinato (a.k.a. dinosaur) kale, stripped from stalk and chopped

3 apples of choice 

2 lemons

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

8 ounces pancetta 

1 carrot

1 avocado

4 ounces aged white cheddar 

½ cup pumpkin seeds (roasted and salted)

  1. In a blender or food processor, liquify 2 apples (seeded and cored), 1 lemon (rind and seeds removed), olive oil, apple cider vinegar and salt.
  2. Place kale into a large bowl and pour apple dressing on top. Using your hands, massage the kale until it gets slightly softer. Set aside. 
  3. Meanwhile, fry pancetta and drain. Chop or peel carrot into strips. Slice avocado and remaining apple and squeeze remaining lemon’s juice over each to curtail browning. Crumble or slice cheese. 
  4. Arrange kale and remaining ingredients in a low bowl or platter. 

Iced Oatmeal Apple Cookies

Makes 1 dozen large cookies 

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour 

1 ¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats 

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup chopped pecans 

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking soda 

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla 

¾ cup high fat butter, softened 

½ cup brown sugar (packed) 

1 Granny Smith apple, diced very small 

1 teaspoon lemon juice


½ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon water

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, oats, cranberries, pecans, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside. 
  3. In a smaller bowl, blend egg, vanilla, butter and brown sugar, then incorporate into large bowl. Place the diced apple into the small bowl and toss with lemon juice, then add apples to the cookie mix. 
  4. Using a large cookie or ice cream scoop, scoop twelve balls onto the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating pan once. 
  5. Meanwhile, mix sugar and water until icing is smooth. Let cookies cool completely (patience!) before icing. 

Chocolate Pavlova

Makes one 8-inch meringue cake 

8 large eggs (whites separated)

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

½ teaspoon white vinegar 

1 tablespoon + ¼ teaspoon cocoa powder


Mandarin segments 

8-ounces whipped cream (homemade or tub)

½ chocolate bar, shaved with a peeler 

1 cup orange marmalade (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw two 8” circles on the paper. 
  2. Using an immersion blender, blend sugar until fine, but not powdery. 
  3. In a cold mixing bowl, whip egg whites on high until they begin to stiffen. Add vanilla extract and vinegar. Slowly incorporate superfine sugar. Stop whipping when meringue peaks are very stiff. 
  4. Sift 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder over meringue. Fold in gently, making chocolate ribbons. Divide into two equal, round mounds on parchment paper. Top with additional sifted ¼ teaspoon of cocoa. 
  5. Bake for 60 minutes, then allow the oven to cool completely before opening the door. 
  6. Before serving, gently heat orange marmalade in a small saucepan until it becomes spreadable. Stack one meringue on a cake platter and top with whipped cream and orange sauce and repeat on top layer. Then pile on mandarin slices and chocolate shavings.  

Note: Pavlovas are best eaten immediately as refrigeration (and humidity) causes meringues to weep and soften. However, meringues can be made ahead of time, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and left on the counter for up to a few days until you’re ready to serve.

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