Elderflower Fennel Turkey Gravy

Elderflower Fennel Turkey Gravy on turkey slices

I LOVE this rich, silky, savory Elderflower Fennel Turkey Gravy. It’s slightly floral sweetness pairs perfectly with the brightness of the juniper brine on my Juniper Brined Turkey Breast Roast and provides a lovely contrast to the salt. This Elderflower Fennel Turkey Gravy is a great make ahead dish. While it’s in now way complicated, it is a little slow. So make sure you’re multi-tasking while you cook it. You’ll have plenty of time while it’s simmering and reducing to work on other things and the payoff is a rich gravy that’s perfectly paired with it’s bird. Another little secret to this Elderflower Fennel Turkey Gravy is the butter. Use your absolute favorite. The slowly sauteed-in-butter shallots essentially dissolve into the butter and white wine to build a savory foundation. The final notes of sweet elderflower and anise make this gravy stand out from others and round out flavor profile. Because I made this gravy to pair with a breast only recipe, the richness of this Elderflower Fennel Turkey Gravy feels essential, rather than over-the-top decadence. … Continue reading

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

Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Gumbo

Thanksgiving Leftovers Turkey Gumbo

This Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Gumbo is a very popular recipe in my family. My brother in particular requests this one every year. The good news is that aside from being a crowd-pleaser, this hearty stew is a great way to use up any extra turkey you have hanging out post Thanksgiving feast. I always make a great big pot of this Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Gumbo, since I usually have lots of lovely turkey stock as well and it freezes nicely for some ready to serve weeknight meals. And while I typically serve it with rice, if I convinced you to make a rice stuffing like my Rice and Peas Thanksgiving Style off my Caribbean Thanksgiving Menu, you can easily serve it over that instead as another great way to use up any leftovers you may have. It’s full of lots of kinds of vegetables and loaded with flavor. And keep in mind that if you made a turkey like my Bacon Herb Paste Stuffed Turkey you want to keep an eye on the salt, because there will be plenty in the stock and the meat from all of that delicious bacon. But no matter how you make your turkey each … 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

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

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

Homemade Marshmallows for Smores

Homemade Marshmallows for Smores

I definitely didn’t recreate the wheel when it came time to learn how to make Homemade Marshmallows for Smores, rather I looked to David Lebovitz, for a recipe, and it turned out that he went with a know entity as well, so my citation should also note that The Great Book of Chocolate was his original source. That said, I’m glad I started with David Lebovitz’ recipe, because it came out perfectly on the very first try. I was thrilled with both the vanilla and almond Homemade Marshmallows for Smores that I made, but going forward, I liked the almond so much that I’ll always make them with the hint of almond extract. One fun part of making Homemade Marshmallows for Smores is that you can control the texture of the marshmallows a little bit. Mine were soft and pillowy and light as clouds, but if you like them more firm, then a slightly hotter syrup will yield those results. Aside from the awesome marshmallows, of course, my friend Susan is way too smart to only buy standard hershey’s chocolate bars and instead bought the mini hershey’s candy assortment bag, so we had twix, snickers, peanut butter cups, milky ways, and of course plain hershey’s. … Continue reading

Vasterbottenpaj Swedish Quiche

Vasterbottenpaj Swedish Quiche sliced

It feels a little ominous to post my Vasterbottenpaj (Swedish Quiche) the day before the US v. Sweden Women’s World Cup game. While I love celebrating my Swedish heritage, I have to admit that when it comes to sports, I’m USA all the way. That said, it’s time to start gearing up for my Midsommar Menu, and first up is this Vasterbottenpaj (Swedish Quiche). I based my Vasterbottenpaj (Swedish Quiche) on a couple of Swedish recipes (One and Two), so I left in the metric amounts so you can see the conversions, because I think it’s fun. That said, I also provided the standard amounts as well. You’ll notice they’re not quite your typical amounts. The good news is, this Vasterbottenpaj (Swedish Quiche) isn’t the type of recipe that requires extreme precision. Also, don’t let the foreign cheese intimidate you. It’s very hard to find these days, so check out the note at the bottom on how to get a good substitute for the flavor and texture. I think one of the best lessons to be learned from these recipes is the addition of crème fraîche into the filling. It provides a richness and tang that I absolutely love and … Continue reading

Chestnut Sticky Buns

Chestnut Sticky Buns

Chestnut Sticky Buns, Barrett? Why are you messing with perfection? It’s a reasonable question, I agree. I have a reasonable answer though. I really love a good sticky bun, I mean, really, who doesn’t? Despite that, I seldom order them out, because, so often they’re disappointing. And once you know how much butter and sugar goes into the darn things, well, one can’t afford to be disappointed. The sticky bun needs to be really fresh, as in made that day, because they dry out so quickly and the dough loses its tenderness and then you have to microwave it to eat it and then you have to wolf it down really quickly or it hardens back up because microwaving is terrible for heating things. True tragedy, I know. So of course, like so many things in life, I decided that if I wanted it done right, I had to do it myself. So I decided I’d learn to make the perfect sticky bun for Christmas Brunch. And then of course, since I was making it myself, I began tweaking the recipes, because if I have to make it myself, then it may as well be exactly how I want it. … Continue reading

Mint Butter Lamb Chops

Mint Butter Lamb Chops Jerusalem dinner

When you’re making a very special dinner to serve to friends, such as my Jerusalem Cookbook Dinner Party, sometimes you really just need at least one dish that’s simple, easy, and crowd pleasing, and my Mint Butter Lamb Chops are all those things and more. Since lamb chops are on the expensive side of things, serving them on a night when there are lots of other dishes is a good way to get away with serving them in appetizer portions and still have guests feel like they got their fill. When I was creating the dish I wanted flavors that were interesting enough to stand up to the brilliant flavors and colors of the rest of the dishes; that is such an amazing quality of the Jerusalem recipes, but I also wanted to nod to things just a little more traditional like the pairing of lamb and mint. Because of the fresh mint in the Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem, I already had it on hand and it’s traditional ties to lamb made it an obvious choice. It was important to me that the mint felt savory, not sweet. Also, around this time I had mint and pea ravioli with spicy … Continue reading

Chestnut Soup for Anna

Chestnut Soup for Anna

Not only is December chestnut season, and not only do I love them and all excuses to make chestnut recipes, but my dear friend Anna has just given birth to a beautiful son, and the only thing she has ever asked from me (from a culinary perspective) is for Chestnut Soup. Okay, that’s not quite the whole story, she actually said that the soup was so good that it inspired her to want to bathe in it, and gee, could I make that happen? So when her son was born, I knew just what to do, and I bet you have already guessed that it involved this Chestnut Soup for Anna. You know how you’re supposed to bring presents and casseroles etc. when your friends give birth? And then everyone brings lasagnas all at once, right at the beginning while the mother and the mother-in-law are still hovering close by? Well, that’s not when I stop in with food. I wait. I wait until the mothers have left and maybe dad is back to work and then I bring soup. In perfect single serving containers and I fill the freezer with it. So for Anna, it had to be Chestnut … Continue reading