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I may have mentioned (once or thirteen times) that sweets aren’t really my thing, and if I do dabble, it is usually in the fruit way. Chocolate is a meh in my book and pumpkin pie is an absolute ugh. The texture, the taste, I had simply never found one that I liked. So when it came to the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, I was prepared to totally skip that one on my plate, and make a standard and easy (but good to others) version.
Except, turns out my mom made the most fantastic pumpkin-anything I have ever had (and I am even including my favorite pumpkin cookies in this list).
Just before heading out to the store, I saw a ‘lil tweet about a Drunken-Pumpkin Bourbon Tart. And between the bourbon ice cream we were already planning on, and just about every family affair, I figured the ‘drunken’ bit might be the perfect way to spice up the pumpkin pie.
I found the recipe via My Tartlette, but it originally came from here. We kept the filling the same (although so late in the game, used canned pumpkin rather than roasted pumpkin flesh) but switched out the crust.
Truth be told, I think crust may be where pumpkin-pie loses me – I want something with more texture and taste, which is just the route we went. Think graham cracker crust, but with finely chopped pecans and my fave ginger-snaps. Yep, that’s what I’m talking ’bout!!
Oh, and we swapped one large tart for minis (8 4-inch tart pans, but cooked for less time, same temp), because who doesn’t like single serving desserts?
And to top it off, what better that bourbon-spiked whipped cream. It is the holidays after all!
So if you repeat turkey dinner for Christmas, or anytime you want lil pumpkin-pumpkin, I highly recommend this become the new standard!
With Thanksgiving weekend coming to an end and Christmas right around the corner, I thought I would share with you five things that are making me happy right this minute.
And that doesn’t include the fact that my pants still button after all the festivities or things I am truly thankful for, just little things that are making me smile.
1. That I finally remembered to force paperwhites in time for Christmas. If you still want to plant them, or have been planning on it and just haven’t made it happen yet, it’s not too late — if you go for it right now. Here are some tips from Lauren at Pure Style Home to help you out, if need be.
2. That there is some smoked salmon in the fridge, for a break from turkey.
Thanks to a quick trip to Britex Fabrics, the Flower Mart having plenty of white and yellow flowers even if I showed up at the end of the day, and a crafty mom who figured out how to make the fabric work so I could play with the flowers. And …
that the flowers still look good today!!
4. That we made quite possibly the best ice cream that I have ever had – this Bourbon ice cream from Bon Appétit via Lottie and Doof. I am a bit nervous knowing how easy it is to have it in the freezer at all times.
5. And that we scored a few little finds on at the Flea Market with mom. Four milk glass compotes and a set of not-quite silver (silver plate, but I really like the color and weight) with super-long forks that I love.
Hope you have enjoyed the long weekend that that you have plenty of things that are keeping you happy!
Last year while in NY, I made my first Thanksgiving without adults (I hope you don’t think I include myself in that category – ha!). My friend Meg and I whipped up a fabulous spread for friends who were staying in town – it was wonderful – both in taste and fun!
This year I am doing it again, except the help in the kitchen will be my mom. And I can’t wait! We are breaking in our new place with Thanksgiving AND house guests – so it has been a busy weekend getting it all together.
As for the menu, here is what we are planning. Just in case you are still looking for ideas – or have suggestions for me.
- A little first course action to whet the appetite.
- Either with herbed croutons or herb popovers, depending on time and stress
Dry-Brine Turkey & Gravy
- This is how I did the turkey last year & it was the favorite amongst even self-proclaimed side-lovers. It is basically the same method as my favorite roast chicken, just salted earlier and cooked longer.
- For the gravy, get some turkey wings, back, etc. and make stock today so it is done and ready to go by Thursday. Makes for THE BEST gravy!
- I have never tried oyster stuffing, but it seems like something I should have made. Plus, there is a great little oyster shop down the street from me, and it may be the perfect place for lunch out of the house on Wednesday, while picking up the PRE-SHUCKED oysters. (Since they won’t be eaten on the half-shell, I can do things like that).
- Any tips for a first timer with oyster stuffing? (And yes, I know, guests should get tried and true recipes, and they mostly are – I just can’t help it!!)
Mashed Potatoes & Celery Root with Crispy Shallots
- I love the addition of celery root to potatoes – gives it a nice freshness that can be helpful with such a full plate.
- The crispy shallots are á la Ina, and add a nice textural component.
- An old favorite around here
- A new favorite. Plus, it is great to have something a bit lighter and with crunch amongst everything else.
- Still deciding on dressing – vinaigrette vs. walnuts and blue cheese. The blue cheese is obviously tempting, but goes against that whole ‘lighter’ note. Thoughts?
Cranberry Sauce – two ways
- Homemade with a touch of orange and ginger. (Here is a fun play on the combo if you are looking for something a bit different).
- Ocean Spray with the ridges – you just have to!
- Not for me, but I think it is a requirement on the table – no?
Apple and Cranberry Crisp with Pecans and Bourbon Ice Cream
- I prefer crisps and crumbles to pies, so this one is for me. I am just gussying up a standard apple crisp with extra pecans in the topping and chewy tart cried cranberries in the filling.
- As for the ice cream – bourbon as the star? YES PLEASE!
Whew – I think that is it. Am I missing anything? What are you planning?
One of these years I want to do a super-traditional Thanksgiving, and by that I mean ditch the turkey in favor of lobster. Have you done that?
Raw kale salads really wonderful – and while people may have been making them for years, I have really only been seeing (and enjoying) them for the last year or two. They definitely feel a bit virtuous, but don’t let that distract from their absolute goodness.
Because persimmons are in season, and I absolutely LOVE them – particularly raw, I thought they would be the perfect complement to the kale. That and apples. I think every kale salad I have had includes apples, and I see no reason to break the streak.
As for the dressing, I made a quick vinaigrette with garlic, lime juice and zest, ground cumin and agave in the well-honed fashion of many-a-vinaigrettes. Chop garlic and let sit for about 10-15 minutes in the acid (lime juice and a touch of red-wine vinegar for balance), then add salt, a drizzle of agave (or honey), cumin, lime zest and stir. While stirring, slowly drizzle in olive oil to your preferred flavor balance. I like about 50% acid to oil, which is a bit more puckery than some may like…
Another bonus for kale salads – unlike traditional greens – they can be dressed way in advance. Which if you are having company, is always a plus.
This combo is really great for the season. In fact, I like it so much, that I am going to make it again for some much needed balance to the Thanksgiving table. Only thing, I may swap the dressing for a blue cheese-walmut version, much like The Year in Food’s version. I mean, it will be Thanksgiving, after all.
Whatever the reason and which ever dressing, it will be something you will keep coming back to. I promise. :)
Oh – quick thing, before slicing the kale leaves, make sure to remove the stem, as it is very tough. As for the rest of it, it is just chop, mix and dress. xx
Thankfully I recalled reading about these beer-braised turkey legs for tacos on The Kitchen Sink a while back, and it was one of those recipes that I immediately wanted to try. But for some reason another, immediately didn’t. Luckily, I didn’t forget it and instead stored it in the deep recesses of my surprisingly still-working brain, and after the pomegranate/lime bonanza at the Farmer’s Market, I pulled up this recipe on my trusty iPhone while at the store and bought all the ingredients.
And the best part? Turkey legs are damn cheap!!! We are talking $3 for two pounds (2 drumsticks – more than enough for dinner for 4) at Whole Foods. $3 total. And this is high turkey season!
Last week I found myself in Los Angeles for a bit of work, a bit of play and a healthy dose of sunshine.
I mean – summer had made it – just don’t tell the calendar!
So plans for Friday were to have a fun little cook/eat/play sess with one of my dearest girlfriends, her beau, and whomever else wanted to stop by. So that morning before work, Peter and I ventured to the Venice Farmer’s Market for a little shopping and inspiration. The summer weather and price on limes (8 for $1) sealed the deal – margaritas and Mexican food. But since the day was firmly in November, regardless of what it felt like, I thought we should take a seasonal spin on our favorites.
And first up, pomegranate margaritas!
You can of course buy the seeds already shelled and have these ready in a flash, but I recommend buying the fruit whole, cracking open a beer, and seeding the lil’ guys while catching up with a friend. It’ll do wonders for your soul!!
After that, it is just juice, blend, strain, mix and enjoy.
We had about 1½ cups of FRESH lime juice and the seeds from 2½ pomegranates (we reserved the seeds from about ½ of the third fruit for garnish), which we blended together with a hand blender (a regular blender would work great too) and then strained. The pomegranates were really ripe–sweet and just a little tart–and balanced perfectly with the lime juice, although we did add a touch of agave nectar for a teeny bit of added sweet.
Mix that sweet and tart juice with good tequila and you have an almost perfect marg. The final addition is a bit of Pellegrino (or the like) – I think all margaritas are improved with a bit of bubbly – and there you have it!
The perfect fall margarita!
And gents, don’t be scared – just because it is a bright pink drink, feel free to imbibe as well. As long as you leave some for us.
Thanks Kar + Pete for having me – it was lovely!
And up next – the rest of the Mexican Fall Feast!! xx
It’s a common enough occurrence. No real food in the house. No energy to go to the store. Sick of take out. And yet, even then, there is usually enough languishing in the fridge and cupboards to whip up something pretty tasty. Even if I can’t see it at first.
But when you move, that all goes out the window. I am not going to pack up half-head of cabbage and some wilty celery, say nothing of the odds and ends that make up the rest of the almost-cleaned-out-no-going-to-the-store-because-we-are-about-to-move fridge.
And then after two days of pizza, tacos and the like while you unpack boxes, a real meal is in order. Unless you are anything like me and refuse to bring in one more thing (even if it is a quick bag of produce) until everything that needs to be is out.
That is when you are thankful that you remember the simplicity of spaghetti cacio e pepe, or the grown up version of noodles, butter and parmesan.