I tend to want ice cream more during the holidays than during the heat of summer. Forget the chocolate versus vanilla debate. When I eat ice cream, I want pumpkin, peppermint stick and eggnog flavors. Everything that says – holiday season. So when late fall rolls around, so do the ice cream cravings.
As you probably could have guessed pumpkin is my favorite flavor and I thought if I was going to do a few posts about Thanksgiving worthy desserts I should go that direction. But don’t worry. I took it a bit further with a brown sugar swirl and a crunchy topping. I also decided to give no churn ice cream a try.
I’m not sure what happened this past weekend, but I had this unidentifiable voice telling me – Lori, you’ve been posting way too many Brussels sprouts and squash recipes. I think it’s time to go a little crazy with some holiday desserts.
So this week I have two ideas that will veer from the traditional pecan and pumpkin pies. The first being this pear tart.
My Thanksgiving preferences typically go in this order of importance –
√ Pumpkin pie (specifically my grandmother’s recipe)
√ Sweet potatoes
√ Brussels sprouts (yes, a vegetable!)
You can really just leave turkey off my list entirely. I’d rather dip into my calorie and carb savings account for the four options above.
I don’t have time this November to do a full Thanksgiving post series like my Thanksgiving Cooking for Two last year, but I can’t let the season slip by without sharing a few menu options. Specifically this one from my top four categories of Thanksgiving foods.
Butternut squash and I have been familiar with each other for quite some time. The standard pie pumpkin? We go way back. Even the kabocha and I have shared many moments together.
But I have to admit that the Delicata squash and I are embarking on a fairly new relationship.
To date, I think I have purchased one. As in a single squash. It’s been so long ago that I don’t even remember what I did with it.
I know it sounds crazy. With a winter squash obsession like mine one would expect I’d be an expert at working with them all.
Well, I’m getting there. It’s finally the Delicata’s time to shine.
Quick. If you make these cranberries right now they will be ready for your New Year’s Eve cocktails. And trust me. You are going to want them for your cocktails.
These tart little berries are sweetened with a syrup made of raw sugar, rich bourbon and aromatic whole spices. They take only minutes to prepare and they make a good destination for the half bag of cranberries left in the fridge that you can’t find a use for.
This warm winter drink uses local apple cider and white rum to recreate one of our favorite holiday punch, or punsch, drinks we enjoyed at Vienna’s Christmas Markets.
I never could have guessed it would be so hard to find apple cider around here. Apples are plentiful enough in the South Central Valley, but why so few people are turning those apples into delicious cider has surprised me.
Thinking back to my days in Kentucky and Indiana, the second apple season starts, the cider shows up on the shelves. Every store has at least a couple varieties both pasteurized and unpasteurized. It’s a fall and holiday staple in that part of the world.
Here I found one store with one cider and it was pasteurized. Others I’ve found have tried to pass apple juice as cider. Not a chance. I can tell the difference.
I love the idea of a cozy room lined with book shelves and a reading nook in the corner next to a roaring fireplace. On those shelves would be everything from classic and modern cookbooks, mystery novels and non-fiction cooking and agriculture resources to coffee table books with stunning photography.
I’ve always loved to read, but I think my real book passion started when my interests grew in cookbooks and photography. The organization of my collection isn’t quite up to par with that cozy room I described, but that doesn’t stop me from adding books to my gift list, both to give and receive.
I’ve come across some lovely cookbooks, fun photography and inspiring stories this year. If you have a bookworm on your gift list, grab a few of these great books and finish up your holiday shopping.
After visiting our first Christmas market in Europe in 2013, I feared this might happen. Then we went again in 2014 and I knew there was no escaping it.
My brain has permanently redefined the holiday season.
Now, if you look up the definition of the holidays in my head, you will find Christmas markets in Vienna, Krakow and also Copenhagen and Berlin.
This is Christmas.
The lights, the jolly attitudes, the crowds, an evening standing in the freezing cold and actually enjoying it, and of course, the food and drink.
Now, nothing says Christmas to me like experiencing one of those markets.
It’s taken me a while to determine why I enjoy holiday baked goods so much more than those made any other time of year. I can whip out a batch of cookies in March, but they don’t seem as special to me as those I make in December.
You’ll be happy to know that I’ve discovered the secrets. There are two.
Spices and booze.
This delicious pie is the final post in my series, Thanksgiving Cooking for Two. You’ll find the other recipes in this special series at the end of this post.
I am a huge pumpkin pie fan. I know it can be hit or miss with some people, but that’s not the case for me. If you line up a selection of pies, I might give chocolate meringue a second glance, but I will always pick pumpkin.
There is a catch, though. I’m not crazy about the traditional, out of the can pumpkin, type of pie. My grandmother’s recipe will always be my favorite and if I can’t have that, well, it’s a pumpkin pie that I’ve gotten creative with.
First, roasted, pureed pumpkin. It makes such a difference and it’s completely worth the minimal effort. Then, it needs a wow factor — a variation in the spices, a gingerbread crust, maybe a meringue topping. Give me any of those and pumpkin remains number one.