April 15, 2013
I love a cake that is not pretentious. One that does not demand some sort of special event such as a birthday, nor hours spent frosting and decorating. Just a simple, yet elegant treat to bake for almost any occasion. This Flourless Orange and Almond Cake is exactly that cake. Oranges, cooked and pureed, mix with almond meal, eggs, and sugar to create an incredibly moist and fragrant dessert. The toasted almonds give the caramelized top just a bit of crunch. The cake is great even a day later, so do not be afraid to make it in advance.
November 11, 2012
Thanksgiving is never at our home. Each year we alternate between my and my husband’s parents’ homes. This holiday is decidedly my favorite. I love the cool weather, the rustling of leaves, the family crammed into the kitchen to gossip, stir, and sip. And of course the food. Each of the homes we visit have special dishes that we love, but since each year we miss one of the homes, I like to make our favorites ahead of time so we do not miss out.
Stuffed Winter Squash with Rice and Sausage recipe is a take on my family’s traditional Thanksgiving stuffing. My parents have hosted Thanksgiving every year for my entire life (and longer). Each year they put on an impressive spread with many mouth-watering dishes, but my favorite is by far the rice stuffing. Inspired by their once neighbors and long-time friends, my parents early on shunned the bread stuffings they were raised on and adopted a rice version of the dish. Wild rice baked along with flavorful Italian sausage, fresh vegetables and herbs to make a tasty, toothsome (not to mention gluten-free) side dish. This stuffing is delicious baked in the bird or baked in a greased casserole dish, but love the look and taste of baking it in delicata squash halves. It also makes for very tidy serving. The stuffing can be made ahead a day or two and kept covered in the refrigerator or a couple of weeks ahead and kept in the freezer. Wait to stuff the squash halves until the day of baking. One of the squash boats is a generous serving, perfect if it is your main side dish. If you are serving it with many side dishes, such as on Thanksgiving, they neatly cut in half.
November 19, 2011
Pumpkin pie is essential at any Thanksgiving feast, but to be honest it is not the part of the meal that I look forward to. After a heavy meal of turkey, gravy, and of course stuffing, I find it hard to rally excitement for pie. Generally I enjoy a few bites of the filling and leave the crust lonely on the plate. This is what got me thinking about skipping the crust completely and making a pumpkin pudding in its place.
Pumpkin Coconut Pudding is a thick, silky coconut milk based pudding seasoned with traditional pie spices. This rich pudding is familiar enough to satisfy the expectation of a Thanksgiving pumpkin dessert, yet different enough to stand out as something special. Using coconut milk means that the pudding (without the whipped cream) is actually vegan, so you can safely serve to a mixed crowd including those lactose and gluten intolerant folks who seem to be cropping up in every family. This pudding could not be simpler to make. Heat the coconut milk and pumpkin, then stir in a slurry of spices and cornstarch to thicken it. For a casual fare, spoon it directly from a serving bowl and let guests add their own toppings. For a fancier presentation, spoon hot pudding into beautiful dishes or glasses and decoratively top before serving. This may be a break in tradition, but who knows, perhaps I am not the only one who is happy to leave the crust behind.