Apple Cider Margarita

Apple Cider Margaritas for fall

This year, this Apple Cider Margarita has been my drink of choice, especially when I’m entertaining. I’ve made it for almost everyone I know at this point, which means, that after a whole season of pours and tweaks it’s finally time to measure it out, write it down and share my Apple Cider Margarita with you. There are a few twists and turns in my Apple Cider Margarita that admittedly bring into question naming this lovely fall cocktail after the margarita at all. But because of the lime juice and the tequila, and because it’s just so tasty, I feel confident that no matter you call it, guests are going to accept the glass graciously and then praise it genuinely. I add a little bit of the Italian bitter Cynar, to give the cocktail some extra depth, but there’s no need to wait to make my Apple Cider Margarita if you don’t have any on hand. I assure you that you’ll love this cocktail equally well with and without the bitter oomph, and of course, you could always add a dash of any bitters that you do have on hand instead. The striking garnish adds a festive quality that bridges … Continue reading

Thick and Smooth Fall Apple Butter

Thick and Smooth Fall Apple Butter with croissant

Thick and Smooth Fall Apple Butter is a delight to eat and a cinch to make. And the best part? Thick and Smooth Fall Apple Butter makes fall last all year long if you decide to preserve it. The apples, plus apple cider give it a very concentrated flavor. The cinnamon and cardamom make the thick spread full of spice and flavor. And the dark brown sugar, which is my personal preference, makes this spread rich and deep in flavor. I love spreading it on warm breads of all sorts but warm croissants are one of my personal favorite uses. I also love it in place of mustard or mayo on a sandwich like my Ladies Lunching Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwich. My sister put it on a slice of my Double Almond Pumpkin Bread over Thanksgiving and remarked, this tasted like fall! No matter how you choose to use this Thick and Smooth Fall Apple Butter, you’re going to love it. … Continue reading

Fig Sage Cotija Cornbread

Fig Sage Feta Cornbread

This Fig Sage Cotija Cornbread is an unexpected but delightful combination of savory and sweet loaded with fun textures and flavors and delicious served with soups and stews of all sorts. It’s based on a recipe I read in Food and Wine and I’ve used it as the base for a Cornbread Stuffing on my Mexican Thanksgiving Menu. I’m going to let you in on all of my cornbread tricks and secrets. I like to use a mixture of grinds for the cornmeal to get a little extra texture in the bread (but of course you can use all of one or the other if you don’t want to keep both on hand). If you use all medium, add just a little extra buttermilk to keep it really moist as the more course meal absorbs more moisture from the batter. I also use a regular cake pan for this Fig Sage Cotija Cornbread since a cast-iron skillet is nizoral. It was fun to discover that a cake pan heated really hot and filled with melted butter will nizoral. Pretty cool, right? And that crispy outer texture is one of the many things that sets this Fig Sage Cotija Cornbread apart … Continue reading

Rye Crust Apple Custard Pie

Rye Crust Apple Custard Pie dallop of creme fraiche

I love everything about this Rye Crust Apple Custard Pie, except perhaps the fact that it requires a deep-dish pan and it’s a bit of a pain to make. The dense, savory, buttery crust goes so well with the cool creamy custard. Then the tart but caramelized apples bring bushels of fall flavor and provide texture and balance to the vanilla custard. It is playful and unexpected all the while fulfilling my love for old-fashioned dessert flavors. This Rye Crust Apple Custard Pie is oh-so-worth the extra effort this recipe may require, and I have broken it into a two or three day process to make it feel less arduous when I make it. Simply make the pastry one day, roll it out and bake it another, make the apples a day or two ahead and refrigerate them. When you’re ready to bake it, it will be a matter of throwing all of the ingredients together, rather than the make and wait all-day process this looks like. That said, if you’re having a busy, multi-tasking full-meal sort of cooking day, you won’t notice the challenge at all because the steps are straightforward and you can use the downtime for other … Continue reading

Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish

Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish for Thanksgiving

One item that I absolutely cannot have Thanksgiving without is a version of my Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish. If you check out a couple of my menus you’ll see that I make Cranberry Relish a little differently every year, based on the direction I’m taking the menu. For the Mexican Thanksgiving, I added a little tequila. For Caribbean Thanksgiving, I added lime and dark rum. This year, for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving menu, I’ve added elderflower and lingonberries. So why is Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish so critical to Thanksgiving? Well, the tart flavor cuts through all the salt and fat to balance each dish and is an essential part of a perfect bite for me. I also love it for leftovers. It’s a great condiment on a turkey sandwich and with the Juniper Brined Turkey I made for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu those sandwiches are more tender and flavorful than ever. If you’d rather go with the classic relish, just skip the elderflower and lingonberry preserves, but I must say this Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish brings a little something extra to the Holiday table this year that I think you and your guests will notice and enjoy. … Continue reading

Carrot Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon Caraway Yogurt

Carrot Wheat berry Salad with Yogurt

This Carrot Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon Caraway Yogurt is a perfect fall salad that works well as a meal or as a first course if you like. It’s also a fun one to prepare for guests, because it’s just a little unusual. This Carrot Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon Caraway Yogurt makes a great meal because it’s chock full of good things and is served on filling wheat berries. I served it in small portions for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu, but we were really glad there were leftovers so we could eat it for dinner for the next few days. And I continued to make it all winter long since it feels fresh and light while still being easy to make in the winter. And it’s fun to swap out the root vegetables or mix them up. It’s great with parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, etc. But don’t take my word for it, try out this Carrot Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon Caraway Yogurt and make it to your exact preference. Full disclosure, this recipe is based closely on a food and wine recipe. I made it because of its Scandinavian pallet and I was thrilled that it went so well … Continue reading

Leek Soup with Fried Sage

Leek Soup with Fried Sage

This Leek Soup with Fried Sage is velvety, savory, smooth, and delicious. It’s easy to make in the large quantity I have it scaled for in this recipe. This way you can eat what you like and the freeze the leftovers. This Leek Soup with Fried Sage freezes really well, like many soups, for that matter. In fact, I made this soup a couple of weeks before I needed it for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu and simply pulled it out of the freezer and reheated it the day of the feast. I love cooking ahead for big deal meals; it’s so helpful for stress management a.k.a. hanging out with your guests drinking Rhubarb Lillet Rose Aquavit Spritzers, which is really what you should be doing anyway when you have a big party, right? The good news is that you can make the garnish ahead of time as well. The pretty green sage provides some visual interest and awesome texture, but this simple soup is still delicious without it if you want to keep it really simple or sage isn’t your thing. I think it would be great to try this Leek Soup with Fried Sage with other fried herbs. In … Continue reading

Swedish Gjetost Fondue

Swedish Gjetost Fondue with sliced fruit and crisps

This Gjetost Fondue is another great easy to make ahead hors d’oeuvres that’s perfect for any Thanksgiving, but I served it as a started for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu for good reason. It’s chock full of lovely Swedish cheeses, which are actually rather easy to find, particularly if you live near an IKEA, where they stock all of the cheeses required for this Swedish Gjetost Fondue. But even if you can’t find many of them, the only two that are absolutely essential are the French Gruyère and the Scandinavian Gjetost. The Gjetost in particular cannot be substituted because it is a very unique caramelized goat’s milk cheese. Yes, you heard me, caramelized goat’s milk cheese. But, caramelized milk sounds crazy to describe cheese. It is, you’re right. And while Gjetost on it’s own tends to be a love or hate it food because it’s a little sweet and extremely dense and creamy. It is also absolutely the element that makes this Swedish Gjetost Fondue so special and one of the crowd favorites at Thanksgiving last year, even amongst people who said they didn’t normally like Gjetost. It’s also a cheese that I grew up with at breakfast, served on toast, … Continue reading

Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower

Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower appetizers

I absolutely love, love, love, this Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower recipe and I wish that I could credit myself with it, but instead, credit where credit is due, it comes from Food and Wine. It could easily have been overlooked in the magazine. The photos aren’t stunning, but the flavors, oh, the flavors. I have to say, these Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower are probably my favorite pickles to date. They’re sweet, they’re spiced, they’re a touch spicy, they’re so flavorful and they make cauliflower, what is in my opinion one of the most boring vegetables, absolutely come alive with flavor and texture. I can’t rave enough about these Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower. So while you may have to make a run to the store for some of the spices, I guarantee you’ll be glad you did. And since they’re a quick pickle, this recipe is actually really straight-forward and fast. And the Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower are so delicious that you won’t need to worry about long term-storage for them- they’ll be long gone before you could even begin to think about them going bad. Even if nothing else from my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu inspires you, … Continue reading

Bacon Herb Paste Stuffed Turkey

Bacon Herb Paste Stuffed Turkey herbs and bacon golden brown

This Bacon Herb Paste Stuffed Turkey is a variation on a Food and Wine recipe that I’ve been making for years. Bacon Herb Paste Stuffed Turkey is also one of my most requested recipes and it’s a great solution to send to the many people who complain that they don’t like turkey that much, it’s the weak link of Thanksgiving, or the turkey is always dry. Au contraire, mon frère! I promise that if you make this Bacon Herb Paste Stuffed Turkey there will be so few leftovers that you will go up a size next year so that you will have enough turkey leftover to make my Leftover Thanksgiving Enchiladas or Turkey Gumbo. I also promise that your guests will rave and the gravy will be the best gravy you’ve ever made. Tall promises, I know, but not tall tales. This Bacon Herb Paste Stuffed Turkey will deliver and the best part is, it doesn’t even require you to get up at the crack of dawn to cook it. When you do decide to make my Bacon Herb Paste Stuffed Turkey for Thanksgiving, please make sure to check out the complete Thanksgiving 2009 menu for awesome sides, decorations, and … Continue reading

Balsamic Roasted Parsnips

Balsamic Roasted Parsnips

Sometimes it’s really hard to stay interested in salad and vegetables in the cold, dark or winter, but keeping things like these Balsamic Roasted Parsnips around can really help. I like to roast a big pan of veggies a couple of days a week and then I have them to reheat for quick snacks and sides. Roasting veggies is easy, but time consuming, and if you have lots of extras, then reheating make delicious roast veggies an easy weeknight option. Additionally, it’s more enjoyable to eat salads when you have some tasty roast veggies to pile on the greens. I don’t know about you, but this time of year I seem to want carbs and stews and soups, not greens and veggies. I love parsnips as a salad topping choice because of their sweetness. They balance perfectly with spicy greens and taste great with nuts and cheeses. This preparation keeps it really simple with just olive oil and sea salt in the pan with the parsnips. When you remove the parsnips from the oven, toss them with some aged balsamic for a simple but delicious flavor. And this simple seasoning of these Balsamic Roasted Parsnips form a great base for … Continue reading

Gingerbread Crouton Fall Panzanella

Gingerbread Fall Panzanella with pickles and squash

The inspiration for this Gingerbread Crouton Fall Panzanella comes from a spread I saw in a Williams-Sonoma catalog! quite some time ago, and I must say, I’ve never made the recipe as it’s written. I served it as the salad course on my Caribbean Thanksgiving Menu and it’s so good, it’s made it into my regular fall repertoire. I always make all dishes served at Thanksgiving vegetarian (except the main dish). When I have lots of guests coming, I try to make all of the food as accessible as possible, at least in terms of accommodating allergies and dietary restrictions, but tastes, not so much. It’s the Wild West in my kitchen and you just have to give it a try, right? When I decided to make the Gingerbread Crouton Fall Panzanella it was in no way an exception to the feed the vegetarians rule. The original calls for bacon, which I’m sure would be good, but I like it just fine without. The gingerbread croutons are very rich and when paired with pickled berries and onions, well, let’s just say there’s plenty going on. I will admit that I do salt the squash and even the arugula itself liberally, … Continue reading