Friday, August 17, 2018

Guest Recipe: Granola Template

My roommate Lili makes granola on a regular basis to prepare for the week ahead, and after a couple weeks of our house being filled with toasty warm coconut smells, I begged her for the recipe.  She typed up the recipe - more of a template, so it's flexible - via text, and I've written it out here to save it for myself.  I've since been making it regularly myself, and love having it in the morning with any mix of kefir, fruit, milk, yogurt, or nut butter.

Dry Ingredients
3 cups rolled oats
1 - 1.5 cups nuts (sliced almonds, pecan pieces, walnuts, etc)
1/2 tsp. salt

Wet Ingredients
1/2 - 3/4 cup honey, molasses or maple syrup
1/4 - 1/2 cup oil (coconut, olive, etc)

Optional Add-ins
1 -2 cups seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, etc)
1 cup Coconut
1-3 tsp. spices (Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Other Spices)
1/4 - 1/2 cup pumpkin (warm in saucepan before adding if using)
1/4 cup cocoa or 1 cup chocolate chipes
1/2 tablespoons uncooked quinoa

Preheat oven to 350.  Cover baking sheet with foil or baking mats. Mix all dry ingredients in bowl (including add-ins).  Add wet ingredients.  Mix, taste and tweak to preference. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes total, stopping to stir 15 or 20 minutes in. Stop when looks toasty brown and smells incredible!

Guest Post: Summertime Salmon Peach Salad

Summa summa summa time! 

You know those hot summer days where nothing sounds good but a popsicle and all you want to do is lay in front of a fan (no AC in Seattle) and sip a fizzy cocktail? Me too. 

I am a grill 'o' holic in the summer, but the same routine of protein and grilled veggies starts to get me down come August.  Enter in PEACH SEASON!  This salad is the perfect combo of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and greens to make you feel satisfied and full for hours after.  It feels like a cheat meal - but it's not! 

Salmon - I used salmon steaks, but you can get whatever is fresh. If Salmon is not fresh, do the same thing with Shrimp or any other seafood
Peaches (can swap any stone fruit - plums, cherries, etc)
Salad greens - 6 cups for two people
Farro or any hearty grain - 1 cup for two people
Some sort of cream - either mayo or greek yogurt
Brown Sugar - 2 tablespoons
Cumin - 1/4 tablespoon
Chili powder - 1/4 tablespoon (more if you like kick!)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Cherry tomatoes (I like the yellow ones for sweetness) - about 6 per person
Red onion - 1 tablespoon 
Almond slivers (if desired)

Cook the farro according to instructions. Make a salmon rub from the brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Rub the salmon with the mixture and throw it on a hot grill. (about 5 min each side - salmon should blacken with the sugar)

Meanwhile make the dressing: 1/2 an avocado (or whole if you are cooking for more than two people); a small spoonful of mayo or greek yogurt, a squeeze of lemon (more to taste) Salt and pepper

Slice up your peaches and tomatoes

Finely dice some red onion - I don't love a lot, but enough for taste
Dice some basil - about two tablespoons 
In a large bowl, add your salad greens and mix in the dressing - coat really well. add in the basil, and red onion. I also added some almonds, but they weren't necessary

Build your salad: 
Faro - about half a cup
Greens with dressing, onions, and basil mixed in already
Top with salmon, tomatoes, peaches, and mozzarella


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Spicy Shrimp Pineapple Fried Rice

A lesson in utilizing this blog better for saving even the quickest recipe I came up with: I clearly remember utilizing this NYT recipe for Hot Honey Shrimp to make something REALLY good last summer, with several tweaks.  I can't remember for the life of me what that was, but at least my attempts to remember resulted in this recipe.

I recently learned that fried rice is incredibly easy to riff off of, and also to hide an assortment of veggies in.  For best results, use at least day-old rice - a little bit drier is better.

This recipe is super quick if you buy already-cooked shrimp, and can easily be packed for lunch.  The shrimp and veggies each have a kick, but the sweetness of the pineapple and coconut rice counter it nicely.

For shrimp (adapted from NYT recipe above):
1/2 lb pre-cooked shrimp, defrosted if needed
2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon honey
A pinch cayenne
¼  teaspoon lime zest
¼  teaspoon grated or minced ginger
1  clove garlic, minced
¼  teaspoon salt
¼  teaspoon ground pepper

For rice:
1 cup coconut rice (replace half of the cooking water with coconut milk)
1 bell pepper or three sweet mini peppers
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup of corn kernels
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
3 Tbsp. oil (I used coconut oil)
Sambal Olek hot sauce
Juice of 1 lime
2 eggs
1/2 pineapple. cut into bite-size pieces

First, cook rice in a rice cooker (it's best if it's about a day old).

In a medium frying pan, melt butter.  Add honey, shrimp and the rest of the ingredients.  Continue to cook until shrimp is opaque white, about 8 minutes. Set aside when done.

Meanwhile, saute bell pepper, garlic, corn kernels, and carrots in 1 T coconut oil until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add rice and addition 2T coconut oil to the pan.  Mix well with vegetables, then press rice against the bottom of the pan and let sit for a few minutes.  You want it to get nice and crispy, but not to burn - if you have a lid for your pan, that will help.

Once rice has some nice crispy bits, mix it in the pan again. Clear a space in the side of your pan, and break the eggs into the cleared space. Scramble them with a fork or spatula a bit, then once mostly cooked mix them in with the rest of the rice.

Add shrimp, season with Sambal Olek and lime juice to taste.  Mix in pineapple and serve.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Guest Post: Mandarin Tart

Here's a guest post by my lovely friend and fellow pie baker, Jess. She intros our friendship quite well, so I'll let her take it from here - but you should know observing her tricks as she rolls out pie dough has improved my pies by leaps and bounds. She's a pie expert. 

(Please note that due to my own procrastination, she sent me this lovely winter citrus recipe while Boston was still weathering winter storms, but I am posting it in the high heat of June because I didn't want to delay any longer). 

While I’ve met and appreciated all the sisters associated with this blog, the sister I’ve eaten still-too-hot pie with at midnight is Annalise. We had one class together our first semester of grad school, and spent the next two years fantasizing about crust-filling pie combos to procrastinate writing our papers until the last possible moment.
Annalise has my back by sending me food essays when I max out my quota of news articles. One of the food writers I’ve found on my own is Dorie Greenspan, an American baker and writer who lives half the year in Paris. For a Francophile, she is decidedly not foofoo. Her vibe reminds me of Marion Cunningham, another great American food writer who is not foofoo in the least. (Marion Cunningham edited the modern version of Fannie Farmer Cookbook and has a bonkers recipe for a yeasted waffle I’ve been making too frequently.

I was reading a Dorie recipe for lemon tart, and decided to do a mandarin orange version. Winter citrus like mandarin is how I’ve survived 3 Nor’easters in 11 days here in the greater Boston area, with one more on its way. Before making this tart, have your husband ease the baby into a miraculous 3-hour nap, and happen to have all necessary ingredients on hand. I found those to be key factors to my success.

Aiding in my success was the friendliness of this dough. It was easy to form into a disc and easy to flute the edges, which held perfectly when baked! My pie experiences have taught me how much better a pie crust baked with shortening or lard holds a shape than one baked with butter, because butter has a lower melting point. So I was surprised and delighted and how well this held its shaped edge. It smelled wonderful, like a sugar cookie that isn’t overly sweet. One more small note is that I baked in a pie pan instead of a tart because my tart pan was too large, and the only downside was I couldn’t pop my tart out of it once it had cooled. So pie pan or tart-either are good options for you.

The main difference between my mandarin tart and Dorie’s lemon (her recipe here: is that using the whole mandarin, skin and all, didn’t work the way it did for lemon. I suspect that because the skin of the mandarin is thinner, it wasn’t captured and puréed as easily by the food processor. I ended up straining out the many small bits of skin and then zesting mandarin skin back into the mix. I also really pulsed the food processor for a while in an attempt to break down the mandarin skin, and this whipped more bubbles into my filling. You want to avoid bubbles because when baking they pop and mar the surface of your tart. Learn from my mistakes—go straight to zesting and juicing! I sifted powdered sugar onto my tart when it was cool to hide the bubble scars, though they really weren’t too bad.

My final important observation is that this tart is pretty jiggly when you take it out of the oven. Embrace the jiggle. You have my word it sets nicely as it cools. While it was cooling, I made use of my fruit leftovers. Because I had to zest 5 additional mandarins, I had these mandarins that needed to be used soon or their scraped bodies would get hard. So I poured myself a glass of lime seltzer and cut the remaining skin off, and used it as a juicy garnish. Beautiful and tasty.

If you also need a break from the news and love food writing, may I suggest these two gems from Dorie.

For crust:1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut small
1 large egg yolk
Additional butter for aluminum foil and pie plate/tart pan

For filling:
5 mandarin oranges
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Additional confectioners’ sugar for decoration of desired.


Begin with the crust: Put the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse in short bursts so the butter is pea-sized lumps. I added the butter half at a time to avoid it becoming a clumpy mess, but pulsed until the pieces were much too small, and it worked out totally ok. Add egg yolk and pulse til combined. When the yolk is in, process in 2-3 10 second pulses until the dough forms slightly larger clumps.

Pour your dough crumbles out and knead to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Dorie would have you smear the butter into the flour with the heel of your hand. Revel in this tactile sensation.
Flatten dough into a disc, and then roll out until it is slightly bigger than your pan.

Butter your tart pan (if using one) to help your tart pop out cleanly. Drape your dough into the pan. If using a pie plate, feel free to flute the edges for decorative purposes and to help hold your filling. Prick the dough with a fork and freeze for 30 mins.

While dough is chilling, begin the filling: zest and squeeze the juice of 5 mandarins into food processor. Add sugar and pulse til combined. Then add remaining filling ingredients and pulse on low until evenly mixed. Take food processor bowl off its stand and tap it a few times on the counter to pop bubbles that may have been whipped into your mixture.

Remove chilled dough from freezer. Butter a piece of aluminum foil and drape over crust,being sure to cover the edges of your pie so they don’t overly brown. (I got a little over-browning, myself.) Fill with rice, uncooked beans, or ceramic pie weights and bake for 30 minutes at 350. At that point, remove aluminum foil and pie weights and cook for additional 10 minutes to finish setting the bottom and to brown crust. Remove crust and allow it to cool.

Decrease oven temp to 325. Carefully pour your filling into your crust. If you spill filling on the crust that will remain visible, it will look sticky when baked. If you see bubbles in your filling, you can pop them with your finger or a toothpick. Bake for 20 mins. Up temperature to 350 and bake for additional 30 mins. Remove from oven and allow to cool, either to room temperature or in the fridge.

If desired, sift additional confectioners’ sugar on top of your tart. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Smoky Sweet Potato Chorizo Bowl

I don't think I've yet extolled the virtues of the CRISPY. FRIED. EGG. on this blog, but you should go learn about it from Deb and put it on top of every other meal, like I did for roughly February - June of last year.  True story: prior to the crispy egg, I did not like eggs (Sam-I-Am!). Then one afternoon, Deb's writing about a crispy egg atop spaghetti a pangratatto was so good, I tried it on the spot - now here we are.

I threw this bowl together with some leftover chorizo from a birthday dinner. It is a defining Parady trait that we buy too much food for parties, or pretty much any time we feed others, but at least we know how to make the most of leftovers! These sweet potatoes are a smoky, spicy dream, a perfect weeknight meal that doesn't skimp on flavor.

I made this just for myself, but adjusted below for a rough recipe for two.

For two bowls:
1 sweet potato
Smoked Paprika
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Olive Oil
1/2 bell pepper
1/2 sweet onion
1/2 cup chorizo
Greens - arugula or spinach
Cotija or Feta
Aguacate or verde salsa
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke sweet potato skin with a fork.  Place in a microwave on high for 4 minutes, or until it starts to soften. Cut into bite-size pieces, skin included. Spread across a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and add cumin, smoked paprika, salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Place in oven for 20 min, but keep an eye on them.

Meanwhile, cut bell pepper and onion into thin strips. Add a tablespoon of oil to a frying pan and add bell pepper and onion.  Cook on medium until onion starts to get transclucent and bell pepper starts to soften, about 5 min.  Add chorizo and continue to cook over medium heat until chorizo has browned and is cooked through.  Drain fat and discard, setting aside chorizo and veggies.

Once sweet potatoes are nice and browned, remove from oven.  Layer bowl with sweet potato, peppers, onions, greens, salsa and cheese.

Heat frying pan again, over high heat.  THEN add olive oil, heat over medium high heat until shimmering.  Once the oil is hot, take a deep breath and crack an egg into it, moving quickly away from the splattering oil. Watch as the egg whites bubble around the yolk.  Let it sit for longer than you think, until the bottom of the egg starts to get crispy brown.  Pour some of the hot oil from the pan over the whites - not the yolk - to speed things along but help the yolk stay runny. Remove and repeat with the other egg.

Top each bowl with a crispy fried egg and a dab of yogurt & salsa. Dig in!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Breakfast Apple & Egg Chop

This is a thing I like to eat for breakfast. 

It's a small apple and a hard boiled egg, chopped up with other things that may include hard white cheese or avocado, pepitas or nuts for crunch, and topped with olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and a little salt (or in this case salt I made ages ago that was mixed with crushed toasted nori).  

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Instant Pot Dal Makhani

Here is another delicious instant pot find.  I'm writing the recipe up here so I remember to make it again, but it's straight from The Instant Pot Indian Cookbook by Urvashi Pitre.  The dal here retains its shape and the sauce is wonderfully creamy (probably because it includes, um, cream).

With a salad and Heidi's Instant Pot Chickpea Cauliflower Korma (except I was with non chickpea eaters so we did potato cauliflower):  

Group One: 
1/2 cup whole black urad dal, rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 TB chopped garlic
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 1/2 cups water

Group Two: 
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup cream
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp each turmeric, coriander, garam masala
1/4 tsp each cayenne, cumin

Group Three: 
2 tsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds 
1 TB tomato paste 

Put Group One in the instant pot and pressure cook on high for 30 minutes, then release naturally (I lost patience and eventually did quick release and it was fine).

While that is cooking, whisk together Group Two in a bowl and set aside.  For Group Three, heat the ghee in a small pan, add the cumin seeds, and when they sputter, stir in the tomato paste until it absorbs the ghee. 

Mix Group Three into Group One, then mix in Group Two as well.  Serve with chopped cilantro and fried garlic.  Yum.  

Instant Pot Split Pea with Spinach, Lemon, and Ethiopian Spices

Tonight I made this soup in the Instant Pot (which, when you're a vegetarian trying to get protein, is a pretty lifesaving legume-cooker).

I subbed split peas for lentils because that's what I had, and served over rice with yogurt on the side. Pressure cooked a little extra (13 mins instead of 10) because of using split peas, although I bet they would have been fine after 10 - they were pretty liquified.  I did find it needed more lemon juice and salt than called for.  It was delicious!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Chicken Soup With Jalapeño and Lime

Years ago, I worked at a shelter for kids who'd crossed the border without an adult.  Not only were the kids from many different countries, the staff were as well. I would have a steaming cup of cafe con leche set in front of me while I worked a night shift, or walk into a staff meeting to find the largest soup pot I'd ever seen perched on the stove top and filled with posole. But there was no day of the week that I looked forward to more than chicken soup day, where inevitably a chicken soup spiced with jalapeño and cumin bubbled on the stove.  I never could pinpoint which country it originated from, and failed to ever get a clear recipe from the several cooks who'd make it.  I searched and searched the internet, to no avail.

A few things were consistent - the chicken legs would be left on the bone, perched in your soup bowl with the meat tenderly falling off.  The rice wouldn't be cooked in the broth, but separately, then passed around for you to add as you please. Sometimes there were large slices of jalapeño nestled amongst the veggies, but there was always a kick to the broth. And besides the bowl of rice, other toppings would be passed around the table as well.  Cilantro, more onion, avocado, more jalapeno - which the teenagers would pass behind me, laughing about how I couldn't handle the heat. Lastly, there was lime or lemon to squeeze over the top of it all, brightening the flavor and bringing the dish over the top.

K helped me recreate the recipe based on the tips I'd been given and the strong memories of the nose and the tongue. It's the kind of soup that feels healing, somehow, and that warms you to your core on a cold winter's day. Below, our best attempt.

3 large carrots
5 stalks celery
2 large yellow onions
2-4 cloves of garlic
2-3 jalapeños
3 to 5 pounds bone-in chicken legs
Water or Stock

To top:
Lime/Lemon Wedges
Cooked Rice

Chop and peel carrots, celery and onion into large, bite-size pieces. Dice the garlic finely. De-seed and chop jalapeño, taking note of how spicy they appear to be.  Add celery, onion, and carrots to a large pot with a few tablespoons olive oil.  Saute in the bottom of the pot until the onions are translucent. Add the jalapeño and garlic, to taste, and saute a bit more.

Add chicken legs and saute a bit to brown the skin. Cover with roughly 8 cups of water or chicken stock. Bring entire pot to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Skim foam continually as it rises to the top.  Taste occasionally, adding more jalapeño or cumin as personally preferred. Simmer the soup for at least an hour, until the chicken is tender and falling off the bones.

While the soup is simmering, cook rice and prepare toppings.  Set tables with toppings in bowls to be shared around the table.  Serve soup with lime, cilantro rice, and yogurt at the least, in addition to any other desired toppings (other suggestions above).

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Roundup

A roundup of sweets & treats that could warm your home this holiday week. I've been prepping away for all the family to arrive in Arizona for a desert Christmas, so here are some recipes we love that you can use to welcome the ones you love! For more holiday pie recipes, please see Thanksgiving roundups One and Two, which list almost all of our favorite pies.

Holiday Snacks
Orange Chipotle Spiced Pecans: A great Christmas gift, or a snack to be made in advance of carloads of family arriving at your door. 

Cranberry Chutney with Baked Brie:  This recipe was included in a past Thanksgiving roundup, but really belongs in your holiday party or lunch line-up, so I'm cross-posting here. 

Baked Feta: Writing this roundup reminded me that I haven't written up a recent Parady sister discovery: almost all baked cheese is magic, feta included.

Ricotta and Roasted Grape Crostini I pulled some recipes from an impressive party menu Sarah once created, but I'm pretty sure I've had these elsewhere and they were excellent.

Stuffed Dates: Sarah does hers with bleu cheese & marscapone, I've had them with parmesan and drool just thinking about it.

Roasted Tomato and Rosemary White Bean Dip: K made this for a Christmas spread one year, and it's perfect party fare - a lovely warm dip, without being too heavy.

Gin-Marinated Olives


Holiday Cookie Roundup  I shouldn't even need a cookie section, because almost all the cookies you could need can be found in this post here, from a year where Sarah was clearly amped on holiday cheer and let it all out in the form of baking.

Spicy Gingerbread Cookies: The way gingerbread is meant to be: dark, strong, and with a kick.

Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies: Another place these flavors blend together perfectly is this pie

Sweet Potato Biscotti: A guest post by one of our mum's co-librarians!

G-Free Salted Oatmeal Cookies

Grown-Up No-Bake Cookies

Flourless Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Christmas Wreath Cookies Inexplicably, these cookies that I made as a college student in a tiny apartment reign supreme as one of the top five  most popular recipes ever posted on this blog. 

Eggnog Florentines

Pie & Other Desserts

Chocolate-Covered Candied Oranges My favorite stocking gift as a kid were those chocolate oranges that you "whack and unwrap".  Here, a much classier version. 

Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Pie: A recent original Parady pie recipe.

Black-Bottom Citrus Pie: Four & Twenty Blackbirds makes a black-bottom lemon pie that is a dream during citrus season, but I've played with the idea of hearkening to the above-mentioned chocolate oranges by replacing the lemons with oranges here. Let me know if you try it!

The Molasses Pie!: Another cross-post...I know I tell you to make this every Thanksgiving, but you should make it every Christmas, too.  

Egg N' Grogg Pie: Another Four & Twenty Blackbirds creation - all the boozy, creamy goodness of eggnog wrapped up in a pie. 

Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate CakeCan you think of anything else a dessert needs to contain? I can't. 

For Christmas Morning: Growing up, our family used to be gifted with a homemade potica by an old family friend, and I would always have a slice on Christmas morning. Seeing as how I haven't yet mustered the energy to tackle that kitchen challenge, I'm forever in search of a Christmas breakfast that is both festive and minimal effort the morning-of, lest breakfast stand in the way of present-opening.

Applesauce Sticky Cake with Dates

Stromboli: This is a guest post by my very good friend, whose family is filled with chefs, and who whip this up quickly for their family each year while making hundreds of cinnamon rolls for family and friends. 

Orange, Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

Green Chili Souffle K & S made this for a long-ago Christmas morning for which I was not present, so I'm thinking I'll force them to make it again this Christmas, no? 

Gingerbread Dutch Baby: Dutch Babies are SO much easier than pancakes and waffles, and here's a perfect Christmas one!

Dark, Stout Gingerbread

Drinks - the warm and the boozy

Winter Marshmallow Trio: Chai, Peppermint, and Espresso: If you're going to get fancy enough to make your own marshmallows, you might as well go to town on the flavors, too. 

Decadent Hot Chocolate Mix: I often find myself disappointed in hot chocolate, and have searched high and low for a recipe that's foolproof to creating a rich, sturdy mug of hot chocolate without being sickeningly sweet.  Deb, of course, had the answer.  You will never need another hot chocolate recipe again.

Italian Amaretto Cookies and Bourbon Hot Toddys: Our hot toddy recipes on this blog are extensive (here, here and here). In this edition, Kate paired them with some lovely cookies for a Christmas celebration.

Coconut Curry Hot Chocolate: Make your hot chocolate with coconut milk and add curry marshmallows, because we all need a little sweet & spicy for our holidays. 

Gingerbread Latte Make a batch of syrup in advance and you're set for holiday coffee without the drive-through line.

Cranberry Sorbet Fizz

Fairytale of New YorkThis is described as a "winter-spiced old-fashioned", so I made a batch of the syrup in advance of our whiskey-loving family arriving.  It made my kitchen smell like heaven. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Baked Feta

K told me a secret about a year ago - that Brie isn't the only cheese that gets 5x dreamier if you slip it in the oven before serving.  She has a different baked feta recipe, but below is the version I've been adding to every cheese plate since.  It's a simple way to knock your hor d'oeuvres spread out of the park. I'm confident it would be excellent with any manner of herbs.


1 block of feta (doesn't need to be fancy, as you're about to fancy it up anyways)
Crushed Red Pepper
Olive Oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover the top of your feta liberally with herbs and crushed red pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake until just soft, 10-15 minutes.  Serve immediately with your favorite crackers.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Winter Salad with Pear and Pomegranate

When I'm planning my week's lunches, I often shy away from salads because I convince myself that it won't be enough food, or that they won't be as good as I want them to be.  A few years ago, I threw this salad together and it proves both of the above fears unfounded. It also shows that winter salads can be a dream, not just a sad echo of summertime.  It's my favorite desk lunch for this time of year, a welcome contrast to holiday potlucks and winter's more carb-heavy offerings.

Pear (I've happily substituted apple as well)
Pomegranate Arils
Pecan Pieces
Cooked Quinoa (I use red here)
Olive Oil

I unfortunately don't have exact measurements for you, because I think most of us like different proportions in our salad and I tend to just make one serving.  I wash my spinach and cut it with clean kitchen shears into small pieces.  Then I cube the pear and remove the arils from pomegranate before adding them, the pecans, and the quinoa.  Last, I crumble the feta over the salad and drizzle it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Pie

Rich, easy and a show-stopper, this is a recipe that I dreamt up for our Thanksgiving meal, but that I think may actually belong on the Christmas table. My inspiration came from pomegranate bark, where one nestles pomegranate arils in dark chocolate so that the tart juices bursts in contrast to the bitter and sweet.  I'm pleased with the results, but it is incredibly rich, so enjoy in thin slices. If you're worried about the richness, you could reduce one of the ganaches by 1/2, but I recommend keeping the amount of arils consistent regardless.

For the crust:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved, seeds scraped, bean reserved (or sub with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Truffle Ganache:
4 oz semisweet choc
4 oz bittersweet choc
1/2 cup cream
1/2 pomegranate worth of arils

Ganache Glaze:
4 oz bittersweet choc
1 cup cream

For top:
1/2 pomegranate worth of arils

Before you begin:
Preheat the oven to 350.
Remove arils from pomegranate.

For the Crust:
Combine butter, sugar, vanilla seeds, and salt in a large bowl, stir until incorporated. Add flour, stir until just combined and a dough begins to form. Sprinkle dough over the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom (alternately, a shallow pie pan also works just fine). Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes, until brown.

For the Truffle Ganache:
Chop both types of chocolate very finely.  Heat the cream until hot, just before simmering.  Add the chocolate and stir continuously, until the mixture is glossy.  Stir in the pomegranate arils. Pour into crust and chill in fridge for at least 20 minutes, until firm.

For the Ganache Glaze:
Chop chocolate very fine, heat cream until hot, add chocolate and stir until glossy. Pour over chilled truffle filling.

Sprinkle remaining arils on top in a decorative pattern.
Chill in fridge until firm, at least a half an hour but I recommend 2 hours.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup 2

Our poor blog is beyond neglected, perhaps bordering on forgotten, but one year ago I set a reminder to finish and post a follow-up to last year's Thanksgiving Roundup of recipes, so here we are. Hopefully, I've given you enough time for you to plan or adjust your menu and buy the ingredients for some of the worthy offerings below.

Turkey and Stuffing
Crockpot Turkey and GravyA great option if you have a smaller number of people to host this year, or simply don't feel like hauling a full turkey in and out of the oven.

Ancho Turkey: K made an ancho chile turkey in a slow cooker for P their first Thanksgiving away from the desert in Boston.  Email exchanges at the time suggest that this could be accomplished as follows: Season turkey breast with lemon, butter and garlic salt. Cook ancho chiles, garlic and onion together on the stove until browned, transculent, and/or slightly blistered. Blend the mixture into a sauce, and marinate the turkey breast in it overnight.  Cook in a slow cooker, likely 4-5 hours on high. (If this inspires you to find a more exact recipe, please send our way!). You could do the same to a full turkey, and roast it.

Roasted Chestnut Cornbread StuffingLast year I hosted Friends-giving in my cozy Boston home, and this was a perfect New England addition to the table.  I replaced the white bread with cornbread, and would do that again.

Southwestern Green Chile Cornbread StuffingCornbread is best with jalapenos, right?  Cornbread stuffing probably is, too.

Vegetables and Sides
Smoky Scalloped Sweet PotatoesK made these scalloped sweet potatoes last year, and added smoked paprika along with the thyme to make them smoky, spicy and creamy.  She doesn't remember exactly how much paprika, but she strongly suggests you do the same.

String Beans with Ginger and GarlicAnother addition from K's table last year, when her goal was a straightforward, but hearty Thanksgiving meal.  These fit the bill as a simple but flavorful side.

Mary's Cranberry Orange RelishP's mother Mary makes this relish every year, so it's become a staple for us as well.  It's bright with flavor, and great for those who aren't fans of the usual homemade cranberry sauce.

Bejeweled RiceIf you have vegetarians on the guest list, this dish is a good staple to have on your table - with the opportunity for a stunning presentation as well.

Cabernet Cranberry and Blueberry Sauce: A genius friend of mine once had a booze-themed Thanksgiving (yes, I agree, I need to hear more about her menu, too), and says this recipe was one of the best of the year.  

Mom's Turkey Pot Pie: If you were over-zealous about your pie crust making, as we often are, transforming your leftovers into a portable desk lunch is going to be a breeze.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Stuffing Waffles: Our brilliant cousin guest posted these on our blog last year, they've become a tradition in her household.  They also involve a cheese sauce made with your leftover gravy.

Mashed Potato WafflesAnother Thanksgiving carb turned into waffles, this time by Joy the Baker.  Last Thanksgiving, I accidentally made 5 pounds of mashed potatoes for just 4 people, so this recipe came in handy when I had brunch the following weekend.

Turkey Enchiladas: K's idea for when she had some additional family come visit a few days after Thanksgiving. Dip some tortillas into a mole sauce. Place tortillas in a 9x13 pan, fill with shredded turkey and queso fresco.  Wrap tortilla, continue until pan is filled. Top with  more mole sauce and cheese, bake at 350 degrees until bubbling (just 10-15 minutes).  Could also be done with an enchilada red sauce, instead of mole.

Classic Turkey SoupWhen Kate posted this years ago, she said to bookmark it for your Thanksgiving leftovers I'm just helping you along.  

Turkey, Kale, Date Salad: After making this salad (subbed with kale, as mentioned in my last Thanksgiving roundup!) and having plenty leftover, my genius friend Sarah suggested we throw some leftover turkey in it for a healthy and fast reset meal.  It was the perfect post-Thanksgiving work lunch!

Turkey and Stuffing Dumpling Soup:  Another turkey soup, yes, but this one turns the stuffing into dumplings!  Using multiple leftovers in one dish is ideal.

Pie, Pie, Pie
New England Cranberry Walnut PieK made this last year when her table started to transform from Southwestern to New England. Consider it a good sign that it's a menu contender again for this year, as we have a lot of pies that we love.

Hatch Chile Apple Pie with Cheddar CrustThe perfect Southwestern pie twist from the New York Times.  The spice level will depend on the heat of your chiles, but serving it a la mode allows the vanilla ice cream to mellow the kick.  You can use canned green chiles if you're a desert person adrift in an Eastern city. (But I'm sorry, it's really so much better with real hatch chiles).

Salty Honey PieThis February, a friend and I took a pilgrimage to the Four and Twenty Blackbirds shop in New York City for our birthdays.  There, this pie changed my life.  Make this pie, and use good honey.  (Perfect for a Thanksgiving table with someone who has a nut allergy, but also as a compliment to almost any other pie).

Pumpkin Cream Pie: For when you need the easiest pie you can imagine, in order to attend to other parts of the meal.

Pear, Fig and Hazelnut Crumb PieFigs are a highly underrated fall fruit, and I've been looking for a way to put them between pie crust.  This may be just the ticket. Although, it sounds like it has many steps, so perhaps I'll just crumble some hazelnuts on top of this one.

Cardamom Custard Apple PieI have a deep love of cardamom, which is a lovely and unexpected winter spice.  This pie suspends apples in a sour cream custard laced with cardamom.  I've used pears and even peaches in place of the apples, and each was dreamy. Bonus points: the custard makes your top crust bake perfectly flat, making it easy to make a very attractive pie to impress your guests.

Cranberry Pie with Pecan CrumbleYes, this is another cranberry + nut pie, but this one is my personal favorite.  It has a tart, pure layer of cranberry buried underneath all the pecan crumble your heart desires.

Apple Hot ToddySarah's husband, Chris made these as a Thanksgiving cocktail years ago, so I'm reviving them here. They include muddled baked apples and I'm definitely requesting these from him this year when our family gathers in Boston.

Cranberry Margarita: Did I offer you enough opportunities to put a Southwest spin on your Thanksgiving, yet?.

Cranberry Sorbet Champagne Fizz:  Easy, and easy on the eyes.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Mom's Crockpot Turkey and Gravy

This was a staple of wintertime in our childhood home, so it feels a little wild that it's not posted on the blog yet.  I'm sure I've texted Mum for the recipe many, many times over the years. Without further ado, the perfect thing to come home to on a cold winter day...creamy, warms-you-to-your-bones turkey and gravy. All of the Thanksgiving comfort, with much less of the fuss.

Turkey Breast (Easily found at Thanksgiving, these look like a mini turkey when wrapped up in the produce section. We use the boneless, skinless turkey breast. Buy a couple if you have the freezer space)
1 to 2 boxes of chicken or turkey broth
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup Cornstarch
Cold milk

Heat broth in crockpot until hot - enough broth + water to cover the turkey breast.  Once hot, add the turkey breast, and sage and pepper (as desired).  Add the cream of mushroom soup now, or later if you like. Cook on high for four to five hours, until meat is cooked through and easily shredded. Cooking for longer won't hurt, if you need, and once the meat is cooked through you turn to low heat. Once cooked, put cornstarch in a mug or bowl. Stir cold milk into cornstarch. Heat in microwave until thickened, stir well. This mixture is a roux, stir the roux into the broth in the crockpot until thickened into gravy as desired.  Shred meat, serve meat and gravy over rice or mashed potatoes.

Food considerations:  Could be gluten free, so long as you use gf broth and soup.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Vermicelli Bowl

Except with no vermicelli (just rice) and many many items from my fridge allowed to join the party:

- At base of the bowl are some black kale, snow peas and firm tofu slices cooked in the skillet with soy and peanut oil (the only hot item)
- Then cold leftover rice on top
- Then vermicelli sauce (lime juice, mirin, and fish sauce with finely chopped scallions)
- Then toppings!  Avocado, radishes, sprouts, mint, cilantro, leftover baked sweet potato, peanuts, fried garlic, these chickpeas, and the best part....... quick pickled watermelon!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Curried Vegetable Fritters

Using Deb of smitten kitchen and The Kitch'n as a guide, I set out to make vegetable fritters without realizing that they are a tad more time-consuming than my night allowed for (mainly due to grating).  Never fear, I read about anti-poverty policy with my computer propped next to the sizzling frying pan. The result was a happily veggie-filled dinner to fuel my homework, paired with tomato soup and topped with my most recent Deb obsession: the crispy egg.

These portions are great for two, or for one single lady's dinner + lunch.

1/2 sweet potato
2 carrots
1/4 medium yellow onion
2 large florets cauliflower
1/4 cup feta
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic
Handful of cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
Salt, black pepper and/or red pepper flakes to taste
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup flour

Boil cauliflower in a small saucepan.  Meanwhile, grate sweet potato, carrots and onion into a medium bowl (if grating onions makes you weep, metaphorically or literally, slice it finely). Once soft, use a potato masher or fork to break up the cauliflower, add it to the bowl.  Chop ginger, garlic and cilantro finely, add them along with spices and feta.  Toss it all around with a fork. Add beaten egg, then flour, toss it all around some more.  Make sure the mixture will hold together well if you press it into a ball.  If not, add more flour (I wished I'd had).

Heat a frying pan with a thick coating of olive oil in the bottom of the pan over medium heat. Roll a roughly 1/4 cup sized portion into a ball. Drop into pan, flatten with a spatula. Let sit for a few (2-3) minutes, then flip and do the same on the other side.  If it's not quite ready to flip without crumbling, wait a bit longer. Once both sides are nicely browned, transfer to a plate.

Deb serves it with a nice yogurt dip.  I stirred together yogurt, cumin and lemon juice for my lunch fritters tomorrow, but really enjoyed these with a fried egg on top.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Guest Post by Aunt Kathie: Family Holiday Classics

My Aunt Kathie recently posted that she had spent a busy day preparing all sorts of cookie dough to bake with her sister and mother, our aunt and grandmother.  Realizing that I didn't have many of our traditional family favorite recipes in hand, I requested them.  Here's the reply I received, a list highlighting some of our longest-time treats and the stories of the people my grandparents gathered them from long ago. Some were in fact typed on recipe cards, as seen below, but I've typed them up (as written) for our family and for you.

Jenney's Cookies
Jenney’s cookies, these we all make every year and have as long as I can remember. We asked Grandma who Jenney is! She was a woman she and Grandpa knew back in the day, Jenney Roberts, she had no children and was an amazing cook.

1 c. butter (soft)                                                 1/2 c. packed brn. sugar
2 eggs                                                                 1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. flour                                                            1 c. chopped nuts (more)  
2 tsps. vanilla

Cream butter, add sugar and egg yolks (save whites). 
Blend in flour and vanilla and salt. Roll dough in small balls and dip in slightly beaten egg white. Then roll in chopped nuts. Bake five min @ 350. Remove from oven and press down center with thimble. Bake again for 15 min. Cool slightly and fill center with strawberry jam.


Date Squares
Date squares, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Nancy and my personal favorite. We make these every year as well.

1. Mix 2 c. sifted flour, 2 c. rolled oats, 1 c. brn. sugar.
2. Rub in 1 c. margarine or butter.
3. Press half of mixture into butter-coated pans.
4. Cook 1 1/2 c. chopped dates, 1/2 c. sugar and 1 1/2 c. water together until thick.
5. Spread date mixture over rolled oats in pan. 
6. Top with remaining oat mixture.
7. Bake in oven 350 (1/2 hour)
8. Cut into squares.

Chocolate Pie Tarts
These are your dad’s favorite that Grandma always made on Christmas Eve for him as a boy. I don’t think anyone has made them in years. You cut the pie dough in circles and she used to put in on the bottom side of muffin tins and bake it to make the tart shells.

1 recipe pie crust
2 sq. choc added to 2 1/2 c. milk and heated in a double boiler when choc is melted, beat with egg beater to blend. Combine sugar, flour and salt. Add gradually to choc mixture and cook and stir until thick (3/4 c. sugar, 6 tblsp. flour, 1/2 teasp. salt). Then cook 10 min, stir often. Pour small amount over 3 egg yolks (slightly beat) stirring vigorously. Cook and stir 2 min more. Add 2 tbley butter,  1 tsp. vanilla.

Beat 3 egg whites until foamy, add 6 tblsp. sugar, 2 at a time, until blended. Top tarts with this.

Bake @ 350 - 10 min.

Mrs. Mandeville's Peanut Brittle
Peanut Brittle, this is Grandpa and Bob’s favorite. This is Mrs. Mandeville’s recipe and we have had it for probably 40 years, it too gets made every year.



Hint- do not try to make this on a rainy day, it will not crack.

This is a no fail recipe, makes a ton, a 9X13 pan, full, enough to share with neighbors, I’m not sure where this recipe came from, I have seen one close to the same on the internet as the Hershey fudge recipe, we have used it for years, like 40+ and we make it every year!

41/2 C SUGAR


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Mom's Turkey Pot Pie

This is not only a Thanksgiving leftovers option, it's a meal I'm dreaming of as the air turns to winter here in New England.  Mom's pot pie is the ultimate comfort food, the kind of meal you look forward to all day while out and about during the cold.  I texted her for the recipe tonight, just in case you are swimming in turkey like I am.

*Portions are somewhat guesstimates, as this is cobbled together from several texts from our dear Mum.  Use your best judgement.

2 cups shredded leftover turkey
3 cups chopped veggies (celery, onion, carrot, potatoes, peas, green beans, corn, etc. Mom does carrots, peas, corn, and chunks of potato.)
2/3 milk
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 unbaked pie crusts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll one pie crust on to pie plate. Cook veggies in broth til tender but not soft.  Add the sage, thyme and pepper.  Make a roux with the milk and a spoonful or so of cornstarch (in a separate cup, stir until smooth).  Add the roux to the veggies and broth, stirring constantly until incorporated.  Add shredded turkey.  Add filling to prepared pie crust, lay second crust over the top and crimp edges shut. Slit the top crust for ventilation. Bake until crust is browned to a nice golden color, and is crisp when you knock gently on it with a utensil.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Guest Post: Thanksgiving Leftover Stuffing Waffles

Our cousin Jessica is returning - already! - to our blog, after commenting on my Thanksgiving Roundup with a mention of something that sounded so glorious I couldn't resist posting for you before the big day.
True to my cooking roots – I started googling recipes for “stuffing waffles” based on a whim last Thanksgiving. I combined a couple of recipes to come up with the following! It’s best if you have two or three people to assist you in the process. There are a lot of moving parts.

Using this stuffing:

With this cheese sauce:

Ingredients – this will make enough for 6 people:
2 cups whole wheat bread (preferably from the bakery, processed bread takes longer to dry)
1 cup white bread
1/2 cup onion, diced finely
1/2 cup celery, diced finely
1/2 lb ground pork sausage with sage (If you can't find ground and/or it comes in a casing, remove the casing first)
1/2 tsp dried sage, rosemary & thyme
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
1 apple, cored and diced into small chunks
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1/4- 1/2 cup chicken stock
2 or 3 cups of leftover gravy
All the leftover turkey you want!
8 ounces grated Comté or gruyère cheese
1 pound sliced roast turkey breast
1 tablespoon butter
6 eggs
Left over Cranberry sauce

Make your stuffing for Thanksgiving – but make sure you double the recipe - it’s so good that its hard to have left overs. (following the rules from my previous post for making the stuffing, only this time I did use the bread so that it would stick together in the waffle iron.)

The day after Thanksgiving – re-moisten your stuffing. You want it to be fairly sticky. You can do this by adding extra chicken stock. Set aside.

This is where it’s helpful to have more than one person.

Heat up your waffle iron and start cranking out waffles. Remember that this is not a batter – you need a larger serving of stuffing on the waffle iron to get a full waffle. It’s best if you have a Belgium waffle maker. While you are doing that, someone else needs to make the cheese sauce – Heat up your gravy and whisk in all of the yummy cheese – it needs to be constantly whisked until fully melted.

As the waffles are come off the iron, place them on a nonstick pan and put your turkey on top followed by a ladle of cheese sauce and some remaining grated cheese if you have it. Broil it until the cheese is very melty.

Meanwhile – fry your eggs. You will want them to be slightly runny in the yolk.

Bring out the waffles, top with the egg, followed by more cheese sauce, and then top with cranberry. The cranberry helps cut the richness of the meal.

Free to add your favorites on top! A scoop of mashed or sweet potatoes, green beans, etc would go amazing.

EAT! It’s best if you eat it while piping hot.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Salad with Grapefruit, Avocado, and Red Kuri Squash

Just a really good salad.


1 red kuri squash (or any squash that roasts well, like delicata)
1 large or 2 small grapefruit
2 avocados
Hard white cheese for grating (like gruyere)
Baby spinach or kale
For vinaigrette:  Juiced lemon, olive oil, salt, and honey

1. Roast the kuri squash.  Slice it into thin slices with the skin on, brush with olive oil and salt, and bake at 400 until it starts to brown (I didn't keep good track but probably 1/2 hour).

2.  Chop up the grapefruit and avos.  Chop the squash into smaller pieces when it comes out of the oven.  Toss everything together.  

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

It may be on the later end for Thanksgiving recipe planning, but allow me to put forward this post about some favorite recipes of ours (from this blog and elsewhere) over the years.  I know there are some others out there besides me who simply haven't had time to sit down and plan until this weekend.

Turkey and Stuffing
The O'Dowd Family Way - Turkey with Bacon: For years, K and I were kindly welcomed to her in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey was always cooked simply, but was delicious as can be. Place onion halves, lemon and garlic in the cavity,  shower salt and pepper on the skin and lay strips of bacon on top. P and I would try to sneak bits of the crispy bacon right as the turkey came out of the oven, which has skyrocketed toward the top of my list of "best moments of the Thanksgiving meal." The bacon fat drips down in your turkey as well, and MAN doesn't that sound good?

Dad's Favorite Turkey with Sage Cornbread Stuffing:  Originally from Bon Appetit, this has been our Dad's favorite turkey prep since I was a teenager, and I think it was the beginning of his achievement of official gourmet chef status. Saute 6 sticks of butter, chopped onion and 3 packages of fresh sage.  Set half of mixture aside.  Tear cornbread in a bowl with the other half of the mixture, stuff in bird.  Lift the turkey skin and rub the bird with the set aside portion, reserving some sage butter to drizzle on the outside of the skin with some maple syrup.

Brown Butter and Rosemary Cornbread Stuffing: A few years ago,  I created this stuffing and while it's intensive (so I'm not sure it's making my menu this year), it is one of my prouder recipe creations. You brown butter for both the homemade cornbread and the stuffing itself, so that should be enough information to sway you...

Vegetables and Sides
Crispy Sweet Potato Roast:  Deb at Smitten Kitchen is the sisters' collective go-to for recipes, and this does not disappoint.  Not a sticky-sweet marshmallow concoction, this recipe lets sweet potatoes shine.

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts: One year, I tossed some cubed butternut squash (pierce the skin and microwave on high for about five minutes until it softens a bit before chopping into it) and brussels sprouts in olive oil and maple syrup before roasting them until soft and browned, respectively.

Date, Feta and Kale Salad: Another Deb staple, K had this on her menu when we were all together for Thanksgiving last year.  We subbed the cabbage for kale, and it was actually a favorite dish of the meal.  We liked it even better the day after (rare for salad) and it was a great offset to the rich, the heavy, and the sweet that usually dominate a Thanksgiving table.

Cranberry Salsa: My friend Mandy found this, and it adds a great Southwestern twist to any table.  It's rapidly become my favorite cranberry recipe, and doesn't even require a stovetop.  I just made a batch to throw in my freezer for this week, and added a substantial amount of extra lime and cilantro.  Adjust to taste!

Brussels Sprouts Slaw: Another Mandy find, the brussels sprouts are surprisingly at home in a fresh, bright, crunchy slaw. It's another way to provide needed balance to your feast. I'd consider swapping mayo with greek yogurt, which always spins nicely with lemon juice into dressing.

Baked Brie with Cranberry Chutney: Our stepmother makes this as a classic winter entertaining staple.  Spoon on top of a wheel of brie, wrap with a store-bought crescent roll dough or even an extra pie crust, bake until browned, dig into the gooey goodness.  Bonus, the cranberry chutney makes extra, so you can serve this as an appetizer, and have plenty for with your turkey or with your leftovers.

Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie: Make the pie in this post that has the chocolate ganache on top.  The filling is made with honey instead of corn syrup, making a pecan pie that's less tooth-achingly sweet and can handle a rich ganache on top.  This also makes a great slab pie, if you're feeding a larger group.  Just double the recipe, and roll out your crust in a big rectangle with a nice "handle" for the crust.  Bake until the crust looks browned and spread your ganache on top, cut into bars.

Spiced Molasses Holiday Pie:
Invented by K years ago, this is a staple holiday pie for us.  The "strong and rich" version is my recommendation, and make sure to save some leftover maple whipped cream to stir into your coffee the next morning, or enjoy a strong black cup of coffee with a slice of this pie for breakfast (a match made in heaven.)

Mulled Wine Pear Pie: Another favorite recipe creation of mine.  The key is making sure your spice balance in the mulled wine syrup is right on, so make sure you taste as you go!

Cider Caramel Apple Pie: I made this recently after apple picking with some friends.  The cider caramel can be finicky, it definitely takes a long time and you need to watch it near the end. I would argue that more than making this pie incredibly caramel-y, the cider caramel amps up the apple flavor in a remarkable fashion.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie: If your goal is a rich, buttery caramel apple pie, choose this one.  Caramel is shockingly easy to make.  You'll have extra, spoon it on top of your pie and the requisite scoop of ice cream, or save it and drizzle it down the sides of a mug with hot apple cider in it.

Caramelized Pumpkin Pie: If you're making a pumpkin pie, promise me you'll caramelize your filling.  It's such a simple step that makes all the difference in the world (I would argue that it makes a bigger difference than pureeing your own pumpkin!). I've been thinking it would be lovely to top this with some whipped cream that has sour cream beaten in.

Nutmeg Maple Cream Pie: The New York Times posted this, then Deb adjusted it, then K made it gluten-free friendly.  The crust K suggests here is a great gluten-free option if you are nervous about using gluten-free flour for a classic pie crust.

Vanilla Pudding Pie with Bailey's Whipped Cream:  Light, easy, not overly rich, this pie with a gingersnap crust would be a nice balance to spread that includes more dominant pies.

Purple Yam Pie: I've never made this so I can't vouch for it, but doesn't it look like a showstopper? I thought I'd include it as a vegan and/or gluten-free option as well, and the crust is another good alternative if classic pie crust doesn't work for you.

Thanksgiving Leftover Cornish Pasties: I apparently incorrectly attribute this idea to a family I'm friends with who've hosted me for Thanksgiving many times, but regardless of where it came into my head, it is hands down the best thing to do with your leftovers.

Grilled Turkey Sandwich with Smoked Apple Butter and Brie: My friend Melissa recently sent me some smoked apple butter that's out of this world, and this is what I'm dreaming of doing with some leftover turkey to mix up a classic "leftovers sandwich".

Mulled Wine: This is my favorite holiday drink, and I love Ina Garten's citrus and cider version.  So cozy, and having a pot bubbling on your stove all day will make your home smell even more delicious than it was already going to. I like to slice oranges into rounds, stick cloves into them, and simmer them on top.

Apple Cider Maple Whiskey - A few weeks ago, I made a reduction of equal parts apple cider and maple syrup for some waffles for brunch (about a cup of each, simmer until it starts to thicken).  As I pondered what to do with the extra, a brilliant friend suggested I stir it into some whiskey.  Makes for a great fall nightcap, and you can tip some extra cider into the glass if it's too strong for you.

Gin Grapefruit Rosemary: This is another untested recipe for me, but it reminds me of a drink we would have mixed up in our Arizona Thanksgiving days, and drank on the patio in the sunlight to start the temperate November day.  Annie's Eats is a trusted source, and has a few other attractive cocktail options (including a cranberry sorbet fizz!) that you can and should check out.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Vanilla Pudding Pie with Fancy Whipped Cream

To introduce these pies, a Parable about Pie Baking Restraint (or Lack Thereof):

Me (two weeks ago): I know we're making four pies, so I think two should be this really simple yet great pie I make with instant vanilla pudding.  I've always topped it with Bailey's whipped cream, and it's an unexpected hit, and I was thinking of adding cardamom whipped cream to another to keep it sweet and simple.  I'm vowing to not make this hard on us.
Jess: Great, I think that's smart!

Me (at the grocery store shopping for pies): I keep being tempted to make homemade pudding for the pies, but I know that's crazy and I am committed to not overdoing it.
Jess: Yes, making the pudding could be overdoing it. We do have a lot of pie to make. But we could see how it goes tomorrow.

Me (the morning of pie making): I just keep thinking about making the pudding from scratch, but I know it's crazy.
Jess: Yes, that is a little crazy. Do you want me to put the instant pudding in the crusts?
Me: Yes, but also don't you think we should start rolling out the apple pie crust?

Me five minutes later (as she graciously rolls out pie crust): So...I was just thinking...I think I'm gonna make some homemade pudding real quick.

End Result: Vanilla Cinnamon Pudding Pies with Homemade Gingersnap Crust with a choice of Whipped Cream

one of my dear sisters *ahem* has borrowed  stolen my camera, so these iPhone pics will have to do *cough cough*

True to form, these pies started simple and ended up much less so.  I will note that in the original, un-fancied form, it remains a true win.  Take a storebought graham crust, instant vanilla pudding, and the below Bailey's Whipped Cream, and you'll be getting a lot of bang for your buck.  Or take any level of the (not that difficult, actually!) suggestions below, and it'll be well worth it.  That's the beauty of these pies - they're flexible to tastes, budget and time. No matter which route, you'll have a pie that's light, surprisingly not plain, and transcendent of seasons.

decorations for the whipped cream pies were done by my friend Michael, using a parchment paper stencil.  he's descendant from pie royalty, and i bet if we ask nicely he might show us his tricks.

(For one pie)
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees*
1 1/2 cups Ginger Snaps crumbs (1 box of gingersnaps seems to be far more than enough)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Pinch of salt

Make crumbs of your cookies using the most convenient method for you.  We used a blender, but a food processor works just fine (as does using a rolling pin or your fists over a ziploc bag). Stir together gingersnap crumbs, melted butter, vanilla, brown sugar and salt in a bowl until well combined.  Press into a 9-inch pie plate.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, then set aside to cool.

Vanilla Cinnamon Pudding:
(adapted from this recipe to up the vanilla and cinnamon flavor, and to adjust for pie size)
1/4 + 1/8 cup sugar
4.5 tablespoon cornstarch
3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups low fat milk
3 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt in the bottom of a medium saucepan.  Turn burner underneath to medium heat to begin heating. Slowly whisk in milk, continue whisking constantly.  Simmer for 5 minutes or until it begins to thicken - you'll feel a noticeable difference, so try not to jump the gun. The milk will foam as you do.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour into prepared and cooled pie crust.  Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, can be made a day in advance.

(For whipped cream - pick one, or both!)
Bailey's Spiked Whipped Cream
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1 shot (roughly) Bailey's Irish Cream to start, add more to taste

Using a chilled bowl and set of beaters, whip cream and Bailey's until stiff peaks form.  Taste and add more Bailey's, or sugar if desired.  I usually wing this, but I believe I may use closer to two shots...but don't want to make it too boozy for others, so start with one shot and increase as you go.

Cardamom Whipped Cream
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1 Tbsp. sugar, powdered or white
2 tsp. cardamom

Same as above, whip all ingredients together with chilled equipment until stiff peaks form.  I also recommend adjusting cardamom and sugar to taste.

Top chilled pie with whipped cream and serve!

food ethics and considerations: easily gluten-free if you use gluten-free gingersnaps or graham crackers (fairly easy to find!) and pay close attention to your spices.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Guest Post: Weekly Meal Plan by Cousin Jessica, Wednesday & Thursday

Wednesday – “Finally together as a family” – Crockpot Pot Roast with carrots and potatoes

When Dexter heads to our house for his time with us, I try to have hearty, healthy kid friendly meals that can be ready quickly. Josh and I both have a long commute home and using the crockpot allows us to spend more time playing with legos vs cooking in the kitchen.

This recipe is a mix between what my mom told me, what my grandma suggested, and what I’ve found works for a long day in the crockpot. 

·       A large roast – any kind – I’ve been using tri tip and it’s wonderful
·       1 can cream of mushroom soup (Amy’s organic is wonderful)
·       1 package Lipton onion soup
·       1 can roasted tomatoes – whole or diced, with liquid
·       6-10 red potatoes (washed) depending on your family size
·       6 – 10 pealed whole carrots
·       1 onion – cut into chunks

How to build:
·       Potatoes on the bottom of your crock pot, followed by carrots
·       Place roast on top
·       Lipton soup – sprinkle throughout
·       Cream of mushroom – on top
·       Can of roasted tomatoes
·       Stuff the onion chunks into any nooks and crannies
·       Set crock pot for 8 hours on low

Tips for a busy family:
·       Build the night before and place in the fridge
·       Freeze your roast, let it thaw a bit in the crock pot overnight – adjust cooking time to 10 -12 hours depending on how long you are out of the house during the day
·       Buy a crockpot with a timer and a warmer – this way you can set for 8 hours and keep on “warm” until you get home

·       The roast will be very tender, use tools to remove from the crock pot and place on a cutting board to slice
·       Scoop out potatoes and carrots and some onions if you desire
·       I don’t love gravy, so I don’t make it . . . but you can use the juices to make a gravy if you like! Strain, add a roux and I’m sure it’s delicious!

·       We eat ours with sour cream and BBQ sauce because we love sauces J

Thursday: “It’s time for leftovers” – Eat up!
Suggestions for serving:
·       Grain bowl:
o   Use leftover veggies, add some cheese and stuff in a tortilla for a hearty burrito
o   Add another egg and eat up just like before!
·       Stuffing:
o   Serve up with some cheese and crackers
o   Add an egg and eat up!
·       Pot Roast:
o   Pot roast heats up great as is – throw in the microwave and serve
o   Pull roast apart, add some bbq sauce, heat up and make sandwiches
o   Potatoes – these potatoes make great potato pancakes! Smash them up, add some onions and spices, and fry! You can also smash in the carrots for some extra flavor. Serve with sour cream and apple sauce
·       Mix and match!
o   Mix any combo of the above together, add some scrambled eggs and bacon – makes great hash!