Monday, October 30, 2017

Dark Cocoa Cayenne Coffin Brownies for Halloween

Believe it or not, I added no food coloring to these spooky coffin brownies. The secret is a gorgeous dark cocoa powder. Perfect for Halloween.

Use any cocoa-based brownie recipe and swap out the regular cocoa powder for the dark variety. You will have gorgeous black tinted brownies. Use Halloween themed cookie cutters and cover them with any Halloween decorations you like. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Spooky Black Sesame Bean Dip with Sweet and Purple Potato Halloween Chips

Last March I had a wonderful trip to Israel and spent a beautifully delicious day in Nazareth. Among our zillion stops in that fascinating city was one at a Halva factory where I picked up a container of black sesame paste. I admit back then I had the intention of using it to create a Halloween party food recipe. 

This dip, a loose riff on hummus, is spicy and delicious and, most importantly simple to whip together. Fragrant black sesame paste is blended together with black beans, garlic, and lemon juice. I added some cayenne pepper for a flavor sting.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Batty Roasted Garlic Deviled Eggs for Halloween

Crank up the bat signal, I'm officially counting down to Halloween, my favorite holiday besides Thanksgiving. The fall season is my favorite. I look forward to it all year for the opportunity to create Halloween themed and Thanksgiving recipe recipes.  

You get the play on vampires and garlic within this recipe, right? Sorry to beat you over the head with the obvi. I'm just so smug over my cleverness. 

For the filling, besides the luscious roasted garlic, the rest was comprised of traditional deviled egg ingredients, mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard powder and of course, black paste food coloring. You can add whatever flavors you like to the yolk mixture, horseradish, onion powder, chili powder or paprika are a few suggestions. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Hot Apple Brandy Punch with Marzipan Whipped Cream

If you have a half hour you can really impress your guests with this lovely, seasonal warm punch that is a cinch to throw together.

Apple juice, apple pieces, and apple brandy are simmered for 10 minutes with spices and topped with marzipan studded cinnamon-scented whipped cream. Wow.

This delicious blend of seasonal and holiday flavors is sure to warm you up on these chilly autumn nights.

Serve this as an after-dinner drink for your holiday guests or forgo dessert and substitute this. I promise your guests won't notice. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Turkey Pumpkin Chipotle Nachos

These fall/Thanksgiving inspired nachos are all spicy, savory, sweet and I am so grateful for how great they taste.

Roasted pumpkin, ground turkey and chipotle chilis in adobo sauce are layered over black bean topped tortilla chips and smothered in jack and cheddar cheese.

Dollops of cool sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped scallion rings finish off the dish.

I have two suggestions for making this recipe. The first is if you are too lazy or have not planned to make a Thanksgiving dinner, make these and serve them with some fall flavored margaritas, I lmy Chili version. That's definitely a Thanksgiving meal alternative I can get behind.

These are festive enough to impress your guests, even as a pseudo-Thanksgiving meal. Since the nachos take 40 minutes to make, you can throw them together last minute if you substitute canned pumpkin for the freshly roasted version. Bonus: Stand back and laugh at all your friends and family who have been cooking for a week. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Honey Flammkuchen with Rosemary Crust

I admit this recipe is completely unrecognizable from the lovely traditional flammkuchen (flame cake) found in South Germany and the Alsace region of France. Traditional versions are topped with créme fraîche and speck.

I'm also copping up front to the fact the crust on this flammkuchen is thicker than usual. It didn't affect the taste of the dish so I'm sticking with this recipe. If you want a thinner crust, divide the dough in half, roll each piece out thinner and bake on two separate baking sheets.

Non traditional yes. However, this fall inspired combination is so creamy, savory, sweet, you'll have to fight hard to eat only one piece.

The crust is laced with fragrant rosemary and the flammkuchen is topped with homemade roasted pumpkin puree, goat cheese, red onions and drizzled with honey before baking. I used this luscious Honey Creme Spiced from Honey Ridge Farms and it's cinnamon clove and nutmeg combination really amped up this recipe's flavor. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sage Sunflower Seed Knoedel Stuffed Red Squash

I used to be intimidated by stuffing and baking whole pumpkins or squash. I over worried about so many things. Would everything cook evenly? Would the skin be too tough to eat? 

I now sound ridiculous to myself after making this recipe. It was so easy and too much less work than I thought it would be. 

However, beware the knoedel does have to sit for an hour after mixing it. I cheated and saved a step. The cheat is instead of reducing day-old bread into crumbs, I used bread crumbs right out of the can. So sue me. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Cranberry Currant Rugelach - King Arthur Flour's October Bakealong Recipe

King Arthur Flour has done it again with this deliciously perfect rugelach recipe for this month's Bakealong challenge.

This Jewish pastry of Ashkenazic origin is a popular item in many bakeries across the USA. The name, roughly translated from Yiddish, means "little twists". Rugelach was definitely a staple in our house when I was growing up. 

The smooth sweet sour cream dough perfectly complements the cranberry nutty filling. King Arthur Flour suggests dried cranberries, currants or raisins for the fruit ingredients. I used a combination of dried cranberries and currants because I had leftover dried currants from making Bavarian Apple Fritters for Oktoberfest and because I am a baking rebel.  

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Rutabaga Pumpkin Cream Soup with Bacon

Rutabaga or Swedish turnip is a root vegetable worthy of some love in Fall inspired dishes. Milder in taste than the garden variety turnip, It's hearty texture and slightly bitter flavor add interesting tang and heft to soups. 

This rutabaga, pumpkin soup recipe is powered by thick cut bacon, shallots and a hint of spicy nutmeg. All bring a ton of flavor to this beautiful creamy Fall dish. I love the flexibility of this dish. 

The soup is easy and unfussy enough to make for any fall or winter meal, but could also be a special addition to a Thanksgiving feast.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Star Anise Duck Fat Apple Pie

What to do with leftover duck fat in the fridge? Make a pie of course! Well, that's probably not everyone's first thought but I had some and wanted to clear it out. It almost made its way into duck fat french fries but I came up with this idea instead.  

I ended up making this pie twice. After a very smooth process of making the first one, this happened when I removed it from the oven. Butterfingers. Ugh. 

I was not deterred, even though the pie was not longer camera ready. I was going to photograph this pie so I could post it.  The broken one was given to a neighbor in crumbled form to eat with vanilla ice cream. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Butternut Squash Sauerkraut Quinoa Cabbage Rolls

When fall rolls around I like to roast a big batch of butternut squash and make soup out of it using the herbs from my garden. I've made a few other dishes with butternut squash (see the bottom of this post) but usually, I get lazy about doing anything else with it. 

Feeling motivated by the beautiful fall weather, a new butternut squash recipe was at the top of my list for this month. 

This recipe tastes great with butternut squash but you can use other squash varieties including acorn. Pumpkin would also work well. 

The result is a delicious über healthy fall roulade. Red cabbage, sauerkraut, and quinoa are the superfood heavy lifters here. Together they offer a large dose of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Baked Pears with Walnuts & Blue Cheese

It's almost criminal how easy this elegant and flavorful appetizer is to make. In under 30 minutes, you can seriously impress your guests saving yourself a huge amount of time in the kitchen. 

The pears are pre-baked for 5 minutes, then stuffed and baked for 10 minutes more and done-zo. 

Use the ripest ones you can find for the most flavor and the softest texture. The riper they are, the better the contract between their sweetness and the sharp flavor of the blue cheese. The walnuts stand in the middle, providing a mellow and smooth nutty bridge.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Homemade Fig Cinnamon Liqueur

Homemade liqueur makes a beautiful host or hostess gift and a lovely aperitif or after dinner drink for your own guests. The fig and cinnamon flavors in this version are perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's Eve/Day celebrations.

Serve this sweet fall flavored drink with an appetizer cheese platter or as a shot a shot with coffee after dinner. 

The recipe takes 10 minutes to throw together but beware the mixture has to stand for 8 days. You need to shake the mixture occasionally to help dissolve the rock sugar.