Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Recipes, Round 2

Here we go! Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I'm about to get started on cooking everything. But before our kitchen turns into a whirlpool of holiday cooking, I thought I'd share our soup for this year.

It seems that every year we come up with a new variation of this soup to serve at Thanksgiving. As long as it's got sweet potato or squash involved and is silky smooth, it somehow makes it onto our Thanksgiving table. This soup is no exception, with sweet, caramelized roasted butternut squash and apples and a warm hint of spice. The savory granola on top is a unique crispy topping that's perfectly nutty, salty, and herby.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
2 lbs chopped butternut squash (I used one of those plastic containers of pre-chopped squash)
4 medium apples, chopped into about 1 inch pieces(I used Golden Delicious)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash nutmeg
dash cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-4 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper
milk/cream/yogurt (optional)

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, foil, or a silicon baking mat.
2. Spread the butternut squash and apples into an even layer on the baking sheet.
3. In a small bowl, mix all the spices with the olive oil, then drizzle over the squash and apples. Toss to coat.
4. Roast the squash and apples for about 40 minutes, until very soft and caramelized.
5. Puree the roasted squash and apples in a blender with enough vegetable broth to reach your desired consistency.
6. Season with salt and pepper, and finish with a splash of milk, cream, or a dollop of yogurt for a creamier texture if you'd like.


Savory Walnut-Thyme Granola
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 egg white
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
dash nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, then spread evenly onto the baking sheet. Bake the granola for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Recipes, Round 1

As promised, I have some great Thanksgiving recipes here for you as you finalize your menu these next few days! Sorry about the last minute recipe posting, I would have been preparing for Thanksgiving all November if I could have been! Just a heads up for the next post: If you need a good soup recipe for Thanksgiving dinner, stock up on butternut squash, apples, and walnuts!

This stuffing is deliciously sweet and savory, and super moist. If you prefer a crispier or more crumbly stuffing, cut back the stock a little or bake uncovered for the whole time.

Stuffing with Apples, Chestnuts, and Herbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 heaping cup chopped celery
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 medium apples, chopped
1 cup chopped cooked chestnuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
3 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
8 cups stale whole grain bread cubes
3 cups vegetable stock
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a large skillet (preferably oven-safe), heat the olive oil. Add the celery, onion, and apple, and saute for about 10 minutes, until soft.
3. Stir in the chestnuts and herbs, then turn off the heat.
4. Toss the bread cubes into the skillet.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the stock and eggs. Pour this over the bread mixture and toss until combined.
6. Either bake in the oven-proof skillet or transfer the stuffing mixture to a baking dish, then cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes covered, then remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes.

This cranberry sauce is really easy and delicous, with chunks of apple and a warm cinnamon note. You can make this a few days in advance (now!) and refrigerate it until you're ready to serve. Leftovers are great mixed into plain yogurt, on ice cream, or on a Thankgiving leftover sandwich.

Apple Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce
1 lb fresh cranberries
1 cup apple cider
2 medium apples, finely chopped
3 whole cinnamon sticks
1/3 cup dark agave nectar

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan, cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until the cranberries all ahve burst and the sauce starts to thicken.
2. Continue to cook until the sauce thickens as much as you'd like, keeping in mind that it will thicken as it cools.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pear Gingerbread

It's beginning to look a lot like Thanksgiving!

Now that I'm back home for Thanksgiving break, you can bet I'm spending most of my time in the kitchen. Get ready for a steady flow of Thanksgiving recipes!

Here's a great dessert to add into your Thanksgiving menu. It's super light and fluffy, not too sweet, and studded with chewy, spicy candied ginger and fresh, juicy pears. Cut this gingerbread into big squares (It's not sturdy enough to be cut into tiny bite-sized pieces) and top with vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream.

Pear Gingerbread
20 pitted dates
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon dark molasses
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup chopped ripe pear
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger, plus more for sprinkling on top

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 square pan with foil, spray with cooking spray.
2. In a food processor or blender, combine the dates, almond milk, oil, molasses, and spices; blend until smooth. It's okay to have a few finely chopped bits of date, the mixture doesn't need to be completely pureed.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir in the date mixture until it forms a batter.
4. Fold in the chopped pear and ginger.
5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and top with extra chopped candied ginger (I used about 2 more tablespoons).
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed lightly. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving, otherwise it might fall apart as you're cutting into it.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Moroccan Couscous Salad

For my public speaking class, everyone had to choose a country to be the basis of several presentations. I chose Morocco on a whim, thinking that if a food presentation was ever involved, it would be a pretty tasty presentation! So when it came time to do a demonstration based on your country, I chose to demonstrate how to make a Moroccan couscous salad. It went over really well and I had this fantastic dish leftover for several meals later (plus the test round, meaning LOTS of couscous salad). Good thing this salad is absolutely amazing. The raisins make the dish, so don't leave them out. Between the earthy, flavorful dressing, crunchy peppers, fresh cilantro, and sweet bursts of raisins, this salad is amazingly addictive. Not to mention it's easy and can be made without a stove!

Moroccan Couscous Salad
1 cup whole wheat couscous (I've seen brown rice couscous that's gluten free!)
1 cup water
1/2 bell pepper, chopped (any color)
2 tablespoons grated carrot
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup raisins
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons vinegar (most kinds will work, I used white)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped, pressed, or grated
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and cayenne, to taste

1. Heat the water in the microwave or bring to a boil in a tea kettle. Pour it over the couscous in a tupperware container or bowl, cover, and let sit for at least 5 minutes.
2. Mix in the bell pepper, carrot, cilantro, and raisins, and chickpeas.
3. Mix the remaining ingredients (oil through cinnamon) in a medium bowl to make the dressing. Pour the dressing over the couscous mixture and toss to coat.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Apple Pie Muesli

I started out making this recipe as an attempt at granola bars or energy bites of some sort, but midway through I remembered that I've been wanting to make a muesli-type thing for a while. It's almost like oatmeal, granola, and apple pie all rolled into one. You don't actually cook it, so it's not crispy like granola, but it's not soupy like oatmeal either...maybe it's cookie dough-ish? Whatever you want to consider it, it's delicious as a yogurt topping, or on ice cream, or crumbled over apple slices with peanut butter. Yum.

Apple Pie Muesli
(serves 2)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup finely chopped dried apples
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
few drops of vanilla extract
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons chopped nuts (I used almonds and walnuts)

1. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl.
2. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. The longer you refrigerate it, the firmer it will be, so go for as long or short as you'd like.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Want Me To Cook For You?

Can you believe it's already November?! The Starbucks on campus broke out the peppermint mochas, gingerbread lattes, and snowflake cups yesterday, it's beginning to look like the holiday season!

But before we skip right on into winter, let's not forget about my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving! (okay maybe it's tied with Christmas...)

Cooking for Thanksgiving is really one of my favorite things to do. It's so comforting, fun, cozy, and exciting. Since I was about 13, I've taken the reigns on Thanksgiving dinner, and there's nothing I'd rather do this time of year than plan out menus and recipe-test all sorts of Thanksgiving treats.

Don't you want me to do this for you?! I don't have a commercial kitchen, so I can't really call this a business. But if you want me to cook you all sorts of delicious Thanksgiving dishes, we can call it a donation to my Broke Culinary School Student Fund.

Of course I'm always excited to try out new things and adapt any recipe to any dietary restriction, so make requests if there's something you've been wanting to try but don't want to have to make yourself!

Here are some things I'm thinking of making for my Thanksgiving table, although I obviously haven't narrowed down the all. I'd be happy to try out any of these (which can all easily be made dairy/gluten/nut/whatever else free) or, really, anything else for your table, too!

  • Cranberry sauce with pears and ginger
  • Cranberry sauce with orange and walnuts
  • Cranberry sauce with apple cider and cinnamon
  • Apple cider and rosemary gravy
  • Mushroom, thyme, and truffle gravy
  • Stuffing with mushrooms and walnuts
  • Stuffing with dried figs, hazelnuts, and sage
  • Stuffing with apples, chestnuts, sage, and rosemary
  • Pumpkin cornbread stuffing with sage and pecans
  • Maple-roasted sweet potatoes and pecans
  • Praline mashed sweet potatoes
  • Roasted sweet potatoes and apples
  • Spiced roasted cauliflower and pumpkin seeds
  • Green beans with caramelized onions
  • Roasted broccoli with pine nuts
  • Garlic and herb mashed potatoes
  • Roasted pumpkin soup with savory granola
  • Chestnut soup with pecorino cheese
  • Pumpkin and black bean soup
  • Cauliflower and apple soup
  • Pumpkin Biscuits with maple walnut butter
  • Blue cheese and cranberry tartlets with walnut crust
  • Butternut squash hummus
  • Mini pumpkin cheesecakes/pumpkin pies
  • Chai spiced pumpkin pie
  • Pumpkin pie thumbrint cookies
  • "Caramel" apples
  • Cinnamon white hot chocolate
(for breakfast)
  • Baked pumpkin or apple cider donuts
  • Cinnamon roll pancakes
  • Pumpkin coffee cake
  • Apple oatmeal muffins
  • Maple pumpkin muffins
  • Chai pancakes with cranberry sauce
  • Pumpkin chai lattes
  • Pumpkin spice coffee creamer
What a list! I'm sure I'll come up with more by the time Thanksgiving break rolls around (only 2 more weeks!)

Again, if you'd like me to make any of these things, or any other dishes or adaptations, please let me know! You can leave a comment below, or email me at and we can work out details. If you'd rather do the cooking yourself but are intruiged by something I listed up there, let me know and I'll experiment and get a recipe posted before Thanksgiving.

Happy November!