Monthly Archives: November 2010

apple crumb pie

apple crumb pie

I don’t know exactly how old I was (10ish?), but I still remember standing at the kitchen counter trying to roll out my pie dough and my grandmother guiding me through this process that was proving to be so much more complicated than I had thought it would be.  I’ve made an apple pie every Thanksgiving since.

In fact, every Thanksgiving I made the exact same recipe, an apple pie loaded with spices from the 18th century in Recipes from the Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop.  It’s a unique recipe (the only reason I have mace in my spice cabinet), and it’s good, but I got tired of making it.  More than that, I got tired of making a lattice top pie (pretty though they are) and wanted to try a crumb pie.  So last year I made a new recipe and I wish I could remember where I got it because it was the worst apple pie I’ve ever made and I want to be sure that I never make it again.  It’s funny because none of my family members remember it being that bad, but when I cut into it, all I really got were some soggy apples swimming in their juices.  I mean, it was edible, but it was definitely nothing to be proud of. Continue reading

day(s) of feasting

Thanksgiving morning began with individual monkey breads – monkey bread that my mother-in-law made in muffin tins so we each had our own piece of gooey, warm, sticky monkey bread to pull apart and devour.  It was the beginning of a magnificent day of feasting.

Thanksgiving dinner included a ridiculously succulent turkey; stuffing; a butternut squash, brussel sprout, chestnut, and bacon medley; and an amazing cranberry sauce that my sister-in-law made that has a surprise of figs, walnuts, and (my favorite), nearly a full bottle of port.  We finished things off with an apple crumb pie, pumpkin pie, and ginger ice cream. Continue reading

apple cider cake

The way food disappears at my office, you’d think that we don’t ever get fed.  We had a Thanksgiving feast for lunch on Monday, with the office providing all the turkey and sides and employees supplying the desserts.  There was so much food that I was sure this time people would be full and that there would be enough leftover to bring a slice home for Joseph, but I was sorely mistaken.  I came back from a meeting and all that was left was a plate of crumbs.

Which isn’t in and of itself a testament to the quality of the cake because I have seen Easter candy that looked at least a couple years old put out at Halloween that was gone by the end of the day.  If you need to get rid of food, just put it on out the table in the kitchen and it will be gone before you know it.  However, enough people asked me for the recipe for me to feel confident that this was in fact a hit.  The creamy, tangy, sweet frosting alone is worth it.  Believe me, that’s a spoon you’ll be licking when you’re done mixing it together!

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tres leches cake

When a coworker’s going away dinner became Mexican-themed (all because another coworker said she was bringing tequila and no one could argue with margaritas), I figured I should make a tres leches cake.  I had never made one before and a few people mentioned that they had heard they were difficult to make, though they had never tried it themselves.  Let me assure you, it wasn’t hard at all and that’s a very good thing because you’re going to want to try this.

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chicken a la veracruzana

Joseph is on this great kick where he’s trying all these slow cooker recipes from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday.  It’s wonderful.  Slow cookers are great because you just throw stuff in the slow cooker and then several hours later you open it up and there’s your meal, hot and succulent, just waiting to be ladled and eaten up.  I think it would be great on a snowy day.  Just imagine going out to play in the snow and this spicy dish welcoming you home to a warm kitchen.

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pasta with butternut squash, sage, and pine nuts

Ok, so clearly we’re really into fall foods.  We just can’t stop buying butternut squash.  One Monday night when we had a butternut squash lying around waiting to be eaten, I saw this recipe on the kitchn and thought, perfect!  A quick Monday night dinner and we have all the ingredients!  The problem was that I was only right on the latter.  You see, once you have to roast something, your time is just going to go up and we just didn’t factor that into our timing.  So it ended up being a late night dinner, but it was totally worth it for this delicious autumnal pasta.

One of the things that really made this dish shine was the truffle salt that we put on just before serving.  Now, this is totally optional, but trust me, it’s totally, totally worth the money.  This last Valentine’s Day I got Joseph Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home and a jar of truffle salt from Williams Sonoma. Now, this may be a teeny, tiny far of salt that costs nearly 30, yes 30, dollars.  But trust me!!!  It’s so worth every penny!  We use it all the time and yet  you can barely tell that we’ve made a dent in it even though we’ve been using it since mid-February!  If you don’t believe me, just check out all 30 reviews with the average of 5 stars.  If you’ve never had the extreme pleasure of getting to try truffles, do yourself a favor and get this salt.  If you have had truffles and you know how extraordinary the flavor is, I shouldn’t even have to tell you to get this salt.  It imparts a lovely, earthy truffle flavor to everything you add it to from scrambled eggs to your pizza to your pasta with butternut squash, sage, and pine nuts.  Put the salt on your Christmas/Hanuka/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice/Whatever list and you’ll thank me the second you open the jar and get a whiff of what lies inside. Continue reading

butternut squash and sage soup with sage breadcrumbs

Ok, so here’s another butternut squash soup that you have to try.  I think Joseph and I actually liked this one better than the last one.  The sage is a really nice flavor and the breadcrumbs give it a little texture and a lot of richness.  Possibly too much richness.  I think I won’t add as much to mine next time because it was a little too rich for me.  We used extra breadcrumbs on some delicious butternut squash tortellini we got from Whole Foods.

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cinnamon apple macawhoopsie pie

apple macarons

So the time had finally come for me to make my own macarons, which Joseph was reminding me on a regular basis.  He had seen a recipe for cinnamon apple macarons on Dessert for Breakfast that look absolutely amazing.  I kept pleading with him, saying that we should probably start with something a little much more basic.  When he finally relented and said, “Yeah, you’re right, we should probably start with something easier” I was suddenly determined that I would not start small.  No, I was going to make the cinnamon apple macarons if it killed me.  And it nearly did.

Ok, that’s a complete exaggeration.  But if you’ve never tried to make macarons, or talked with anyone who has, or read anything about them, you may not know that they are difficult to make because of the very temperamental meringue cookies that make the sandwich.  This particular macaron has many elements, and well, it just didn’t work.  At all.  It completely flopped.  I didn’t get the macaron “foot” (the little bottom that each of the cookies is supposed to have), they were dense instead of airy, and each top was completely covered in little cracks. Continue reading

pumpkin pancakes

Ok, it’s Friday morning so you have till the end of the day to make sure you’re stocked with ingredients for these pancakes because, trust me, you’re going to wake up Saturday morning and want pumpkin pancakes.  If you’re anything like me, you’re set already because you’re so excited about pumpkins this fall that you have several cans of pumpkin just waiting to be used in your pantry and the rest of the ingredients are pretty standard.

These pancakes great  are a delicious homage to fall and the recipe is a breeze to stumble through when you’re still a little bleary eyed.  And if you’re a fan of thick, fluffy pancakes, these are sure to do it for you.  The batter is super thick, so don’t be alarmed.  It’s actually pretty nice because it makes it so easy to pour the batter and keep your pancakes from bumping into each other on the griddle. Continue reading

apple butter

I love fall foods so much.  I have so many great memories of getting apple cider and making apple pie growing up.  Apple stuff just reminds me of my childhood.  I’ve always loved apple butter, but I had never considered making it until last year when I was suddenly curious how hard it would be to make it.  Then I forgot all about it, but stumbled across a recipe recently and it looked pretty easy.

Yes, it is in fact very easy.  The hardest part is peeling the apples.  And it is ohhh so very good.  I’m afraid we’re going to finish this batch pretty quickly, but no worries!  We’ll just make more! Continue reading