I’m a Daring Baker!

I’ve joined the Daring Bakers and my first culinary adventure will be in December. I’m psyched. . . and aaf1a.jpg little intimidated!

The Daring Bakers is a group of baking blogger started by and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice. They decided to challenge themselves by baking pretzels for the first time using the same recipe and then posting about it. Having enjoyed the experience so much, the tried it again and soon they were joined by a few more bloggers and before they knew it the group known now as The Daring Bakers was born!

I’ll be posting the assignment and the results of said assignment here. Wish me luck—there are some talented bakers in the group.

And if you’re a baking blogger, you should join up, too!

Bobby Flay’s New Book

We take a quick break from our Thanksgiving prep talk to recognize that celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s 51yb2eb9l7l_aa240_.jpgnew book came out this fall. Under the fog of newborn sleeplessness, I missed it!

The book is called Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook and it is full of wonderful recipes including the story of how The Mesa Grill restaurant helped to launch him into star status.

As quoted in the Boston Herald:

“I study a lot about the tradition of Mexican and Southwestern food because I think it’s important to understand the ingredients and respect the ingredients and how you utilize them,” said Flay during a recent publicity stopover in Boston. “Then, what I try to do is bring in American ingredients from other regions that help to balance out those ingredients.”

Read the Full Article Here.

And I have to ask, how yummy does this sound?

Grilled Asparagus and Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Tomato Jam and Cilantro Yogurt.

Given that it IS nearly Thanksgiving, we’re all thinking about the upcoming Holiday Season and this would make a *fine* gift for any one on your list who likes to cook. It’s on my list for Santa, for sure!

Thanksgiving Side Dishes—Roasted Garlic Mashers

I think we can all agree (can’t we?) that mashed potatoes are essential to the Thanksgiving meal. A Turkey Day dinner with out them would be, well, like Thanksgiving without the turkey!

Most often when I make them, I do them up with lots of dairy; butter, sour cream, milk—the works. But this year I’m looking for something different, something lower in fat, something with a more particular flavor, you know? Something a little more grown up. . .so, here’s what I’m whipping up this year.
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Thanksgiving Side Dishes—Cranberry Sauce

No Thanksgiving table can be complete without Cranberry Sauce. I don’t care if it comes from a can or not, you gotta have it to complete the meal. But I haven’t always felt that way.cranberries_ol.jpg

It wasn’t until I met my husband that I discovered cranberry sauce. For him, it was a must, for me it was, “ick, that tart, slimy stuff has no place on my plate, thank you very much.” Now, hubby is not what you would call an adventurous eater. At all. In fact I often tease him that he’ll only eat beige food. Like, a burrito, for example. If the person behind the counter at Taco Del Mar (a burrito joint we would frequent when we lived in Seattle) asked what he wanted on his burrito, I’d interject, “anything beige and no produce.” This translates in burrito-speak to rice, beans, cheese, and meat. He has no need for more. So when hubby told me my Thanksgiving leftover sandwich was missing cranberry sauce I about fell over. Seriously? Cranberry sauce is decidedly un-beige AND it’s FRUIT! Don’t get me started on the slime factor, which normally would freak the husband out. So, why the need for it? He explained that the smooth (he’ll only eat it from a can. No chunks is one of his food rules), cold, tangy departure from the rest of the “earthy,” “base” flavors on his plate was necessary to enjoy the whole turkey and potato meal. Okay. I could buy that logic. So, I tried it. I loved it. I couldn’t *believe* that I’d been missing it all these years. I’ll never go back. And so today, I bring you a wonderful cranberry sauce recipe. And whether you use it or not, I recommend you never make a cran-sauce without orange. It’s key. Continue Reading

Thanksgiving Side Dishes – Roasted Squash Puree in Orange cups

As a kid, I never could understand the appeal of squash. I didn’t get it. Either that or it was thebutternut.jpg way it was prepared. I mean, turkey, potatoes, stuffing—bring it on. I could down that meal with the best of them (and still can). But now, being a grown-up (am I, really??), I feel differently about the squash family. In fact, I have eaten some manner of squash everyday for at least a week now. My current favorite way is a roasted squash and root vegetable soup that I have whipped up with our abundant share of veggies from the CSA farm. Gimme a bowl’a that and some good crusty bread and I’m all set!

Today, however, I bring you a *fabulous* recipe for your Thanksgiving meal. It’s tasty and it’s pretty. Though you can boil your squash for this recipe, roasting brings out the sweetness. I almost always roast mine, no matter what I’m going to do with it next. Continue Reading

The Foodie Blogroll

I’m happy to say that I have joined up with the foodie blogroll.  You will notice the button and links in the side bar. There’s a lot of food blogs out there! And some of them are really great! Check them out and if you write a food blog, sign on to the blogroll, too.  It’s a great way to gain a cooking community–learn new recipes and share ideas with other foodies.

Tomorrow–More Thanksgiving prep talk!

Thanksgiving Dessert—Apple Crisp 2 ways

When I was growing up, one of my favorite things about fall and the arrival of macintosh apples in our kitchen was Apple Crisp. It’s the perfect fall dessert. Warm, sweet, cinnamon-y. Top it with ice cream and it’s over-the-top good.

What has made this dessert even more memorable is the times we picked our own apples for The Crisp. Walking thru the orchard and climbing trees to pick the fruit was just good autumnal fun! I’ve taken my son twice this year and it’s always so sweet to see him enjoy the things I did when I was a kid.

So, today I have 2 Apple Crisp recipes for you. One is my mom’s recipe—the one I grew up loving. And the other is a maple version that is really a great variation. Continue Reading

Make Your Own Cookbook

There’s a great website called blurb.com.  Have you heard of it? If not, go check it out.  You can capture your great kitchen creations and handed-down family recipes by putting them in print.  They make great holiday gifts and you can get a bulk discount starting with only 10 copies of your book. (No, I’m not getting any kickback, I just think this service is totally great!)

Their product is really beautiful and you can get hard or softcover books made starting at a little over 10 bucks a book.  I’m totally going to make one for gifts this year and If you want to do the same, order by December 9th to get them in time!

You can also make other kinds of books, not just cookbooks, so go and check it out.

I guess I better get started!

Thanksgiving Dessert—Pear Custard Pie

The countdown has begun. Thanksgiving is nigh. All the food magazines are brimming with their annual holiday menus and meal planning tips. Who am I to stray?

This month will be all about the foodiest holiday of the year. Everyone loves Thanksgiving. As far as I know. And what’s not to like, really? We all get together with our families and share the preparation and eating of a wonderful meal. And what’s more? It’s the kick-off to the holiday season! Sweet! (Actually, around here November 17th is the kick-off for us—it’s my birthday, so we consider that the first holiday!)

I’m a lover of all the Thanksgiving comestibles, but truthfully, it’s the dessert that I crave. And like most folks, we have dessert traditions in our family. Today I shall reveal the first (and my favorite, by far)—the Pear Custard Pie. I’m totally serious when I say that I could eat a whole one myself. And have nearly done so. ON Thanksgiving, even. Yes, full belly and all, I can still make a serious dent in this pie. This is why I can only make it once a year. If I allowed myself to have it more, I’d be a house. Continue Reading

Cookies Cooking: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies! –written by erika

Here is a seasonal recipe I love. Of course, you could eat pumpkiny treats any time of the year. But, who does? I mean, really? Pumpkin pie in May? Just doesn’t seem right. It’s kind of like the unspoken rule in our house about not playing Loreena McKennitt music before Halloween. It’s not holiday music, yet it feels like cold weather and family and feasting and celebrating. So, when the air turns crisp and the leaves start to change we get pretty excited around here about our stash of Fall and Winter music AND all the recipes that taste especially yummy this time of year. Continue Reading