This tart was part of my thanksgiving dinner plan, in fact, this tart was the conclusion of the thanksgiving dinner, so it had to be good! and tons of planning went into it, but plans, usually mine, don’t always go as expected. I should have prepped the tart a couple of days in advance, thrown it in the freezer and then should have baked it at the right time just about on hour before dessert time. I only managed to get the short pie crust ready but I run out of time, everyone is hungry now, you can feel the stress rising, the looks….oh, the looks… decision made, no tart for anyone! maybe next year.. maybe…anyways, the beautiful bosc pears I bought continued to ripen in a bowl over the fridge, slowly and beautifully as most ripening processes usually go.
I’m actually glad I “waited” until after thanksgiving day. The pears became extremely juicy and sweet yet able to hold their shape. Got perfect pears now, got pie crust ready. There is no escape, a pear tart has to be made (a totally accidental rhyme, do not judge). And here is how: Continue reading
Finally found some time to post about thanksgiving this year. And the famous and anticipated turkey night came and went, it happened so fast! I hope everybody had a great time and survived the cleaning marathon that usually follows the cooking olympics. Three days of prep, about 10-15 hours of cooking, gone in less than 20 minutes at the table. I will always find that fascinating, how quickly so much hard work can disappear in minutes. But, that’s actually what it’s all about. It’s a good sign if anything!
What I like about Thanksgiving, specially because I’m not amercian, and fundamentally this holiday has zero nostalgic meaning to me, no childhood memories, no grandma roasting a huge turkey… I got nothing. But after having lived in the US for over a decade, I have learned to love it. The fact that it isn’t about presents and that it hasn’t been commercialized, makes it more special.
The fact that it is about sharing food, makes it unique and wonderful. And for anyone in love with food and cooking, this is a big big big day. I hope you enjoyed time with your friends and family. I also hope you enjoy this rough account of what I made for thanksgiving dinner. I don’t measure when I’m cooking, unless I’m baking, or curing, so the quantities are an approximation.
One of the things I did differently this time was to prep ahead as much as I could. Turkey brined over the course of 3 days. And the day before thanksgiving I decided to prepare a few components of the final meal. I made the stuffing, the stock, the cranberry chutney and the braised cabbage ahead of time. Cooking on thanksgiving was a breeze. One other thing. I clean as I go. I can’t do it any other way anymore, I just have to keep my kitchen clean and ready. It’s a bit OCD but it works. If you haven’t tried this strategy and you feel that thanksgiving is just good times as long as you don’t think about the mess in the kitchen, think again. Being organized helps create a less stressful experience and I almost believe, better food. Try it! Ok, here we go:
Blogging is an international thing I understand, but I still want to extend a happy thanksgiving day to everyone that’s reading this and celebrated turkey day. And yes, I did :) I cooked something on this wonderful holiday, and I will be posting in the upcoming days. I really want to post about the zebra cake, because every time I find a post that is inspiring and makes me wanna try new things, and makes me wanna find the time and dedication to execute it, it’s a wonderful experience. I really dig finding recipes when I least expect it, specially recipes from fellow bloggers. Fae, who runs a beautiful blog, fae-magazine.com, an incredible collection of recipes that show her passion and personal style for cooking, photography and writing. I’m not well versed in the art of baking cakes, I’ve only made a few (and not very successfully) but following Fae’s instructions, I was able to pull off a pretty decent version of a zebra cake. To find more about the history of this cake, better go to Fae’s post and find out the details! My post won’t be as entertaining, and mainly just a collection of photos I took during the making of! Hope you enjoy!
I’m not gonna lie. This cake requires patience and a bit of precision… patience I think I have. Precision.. as you can see, not so much. The rings are not as even as I would have wished they were, but hey, this is the first time trying this so I’m not entirely embarrassed. The rings are the result of pouring 2 different batters intermittently, always pouring at the center of the baking pan. The more even the pouring and the closer to the center each pour lands on the center, the better the results. I didn’t have a cake pan, which complicated things a bit for me, so I used a cast iron dutch oven, lined with parchment paper to prevent any sticking. Anyways, this is a fun looking cake, perfect for special occasions, like kid’s birthdays. Since I don’t have kids, I will try this again for when my little nephew Sebastian is visiting and his birthday is up, maybe for when he’s visiting aside from birthdays! Continue reading
Pearl onions are more of a summer treat, but I love them and I thought they’d go well with this dish. Brussels sprouts are beautiful and iconic around this time of the year and so are golden beets, they are simply delicious and beautiful, they are a little more delicate in flavor than their red counterparts. And who doesn’t love green beans. They can deliver a lot of flavor when cooked right… and that means, when cooked simply in my opinion. Actually, vegetables in general require manipulation to deliver what they have to offer. And when it comes to vegetables, I prefer to cook them quickly, little seasoning, maybe some salt, butter, maybe some vinegar and olive oil. Vegetables are gentle and overcook easily. Treat them with respect and a bit of crunch is always preferable to a mushy texture.
This simple salad is so easy to make and super fun to eat. Takes about an hour to get everything ready if you’re cooking without help. You can roast the beets in advance, but I’d recommend roasting them right before you assemble the dish. Nice and light, this salad is a wonderful offset to the highly caloric diet we all indulge in around this time of the year :) Here’s how to make it!: Continue reading
Nothing more soothing and relaxing than roasting a chicken, right? throw the thing in the oven, when house smells of goodness, 45 minutes later, remove and a marvelous deep golden browned chicken graces the dinner table with its presence. But it isn’t that simple, is it? Chickens and ovens are in my opinion a terrible combination (terrible is a strong word I here, but bare with me). It’s close to impossible to get the chicken cooked right unless we aren’t being to picky, and by picky I mean, sous vide picky… those chicken breasts tend to dry out before the skin is nice and golden. They do because lean meat like that of chicken breasts is really sensitive to heat (even when cooked sous vide at the correct temperature, leave cooking a little too long… you guessed, dry chicken breasts), and the muscle fibers compress when heat is applied and all the water leaves behind a dry boring chicken breast.
To get the skin to crisp up and turn that deep golden brown, the amount of energy (heat) needed usually results in an over cooked chicken. To get a perfect chicken cooked in the oven is virtually impossible but we can still get a pretty awesome chicken cooked in an oven. Tons of tricks can be found all over the web and cookbooks to achieve a great result. I’ll list some of my favorite here: Continue reading
Yet Another pumpkin soup recipe. I know. The least original thing I could have come up with but it’s fitting right around this time of the year and I like it, so I made it and wanted to share it with you as well, in case you haven’t tried making it. It is really easy and a great starter course for that holiday supper many have been planning on. I have been a bit lazy lately taking photos of the process and rather photographing the final dishes, and I apologize, I’d try to be more diligent about it. I made an effort this time around and have a few more pictures that show better the making-of. Usually, when I cover a recipe in more detail, it doubles the time it requires, and making mistakes, oh the mistakes … like smelling something burning in the stove while the eye is pressed against the camera… and those greasy fingers click away. Yeah, it can be stressful and lately, I’ve got other sources of stress like selling my house for example, and that’s why a bit stingy with the pics. Soon I will be back on track with more photos and more frequent posts!
For this pumpkin recipe, I chose to work with some smaller more fun looking varieties of squash. And they have fun names too, sweet dumplings, carnivals and sugar pumpkins. They are all unique in texture and flavor but they all carry the traditional jack o lantern pumpkin spirit with pride. For this recipe, any sweet squash or pumpkin should do, so don’t sweat it if you can’t find these particular ones. I have also garnished the soup with a little lemon and cumin seed cream which worked really well. I didn’t have creme fraiche or sour cream which would have worked beautifully as well. Continue reading
This classic upside-down apple french tart, although a bit challenging to make, it is extremely rewarding and perfect dessert for the upcoming holidays. Or if you’re like me, a perfect dessert period. Hope you won’t need the usual holiday-only-too-time-comsuming-I-need-motivation excuse to make it because it is really fun. It does take time, but you can definitely do it all in less than 3 hours including the home made puff pastry. If you buy your puff pastry at the store, then, this is a 45-60 minute deal really. I enjoy making my own puff pastry, for this pie, I made pate fuiletee rapide which is a short cut technique that is less tricky and offers wonderful results. Basically a folded pate brisee. It will be extremely buttery and flaky. My house still smells like a french pastry shop.
There are tart tatin recipes as there are cookbooks and blogs out there, so I decided to make the simplest version of it I could find. But simplicity, specially in cooking is usually a wonderful way to achieve fantastic results. If you’re into baking and just started exploring the great subject of french tarts, this is a great one to learn and many useful lessons can be learned from it. Here’s what I did: Continue reading