Showing posts from October, 2015

Ricotta, Warm Pear, and Thyme Crostini

Guess what we'll be having for appetizers Thanksgiving Day. We gave these morsels a spin the other night as a precursor to the husband's birthday dinner, and whoo boy, these are tasty little numbers. Tasty enough to trot out in front of family and friends for Thanksgiving Dinner. Last year, about this time , I picked up Sunday Suppers , a fantastically photographed menu-based cookbook. It has been a delightful cookbook that has not steered me wrong, so I should have had faith that these would need to have more than a supporting role in a dinner at home. I am a reborn believer in this book. In the pear. In the pear cooked in butter and sugar and sprinkled with fried thyme leaves. Seriously, what about that doesn't sound like perfection? The crostini are as simple as can be, and we agreed that warm or cold, the pears are the stars.  Warm, they lend more of a savory quality to the crostini. Cold, the sweetness really stands at attention. Further, I love me a s

Chunky Maple Applesauce

This is a pretty simple recipe--it's for applesauce, after all.  However, it's an excuse to go to your favorite farmers market and stock up on autumn's favored fruit. On the way to Fort Bragg from the Bay Area, there's a great fruit stand, Gowans , that is our apple supplier. Just to the side of highway 128 , the apple trees are laden with fruit and the fruit stand overflows with Jonagolds, Sierra Beauties, McIntoshes, Granny Smiths and more. In the summer, they stock the stand with basket upon basket of tomatoes and a whole counter of green beans, zucchinis, and corn. But autumn is my favorite time. From the truck bed of pumpkins to the freshly pressed apple cider, it's a fallophile's paradise. This year, we stopped for a bag of Sierra Beauties for this applesauce, and we picked up a pretty little pumpkin as well. As usual, I put it on our front porch so I could monitor the squirrel activity (usually a few come by every night to have a chomp on

Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Hobo Pack with Lemon and Garlic

I am going to admit this right here and now:  I made this over the summer. But then I went and forgot to post about it. Now eggplant is woefully out of season. What's a food blogger to do? I guess that I have opted to entice you with all the glories of hobo pack so that you can make this easy packet of grilled vegetables next summer when eggplant is back at its peak, or you can just substitute other veggies. (Even autumn fruits and veggies-- The New York Times  has a tasty looking recipe for a sweet potato and apple hobo pack. And a mixed mushroom hobo pack is kindly featured over at Martha Stewart.) Sure, sure, the hobo pack has all the sophistication of the Boy Scouts, where legions of children have tucked meat and veggies inside a packet of tin foil and thrown them onto the open flame. And sure, it's hit or miss as to whether or not what you create is haute cuisine. There are burnt ends and charred knobs and mushy pieces. However, the charm of the whole ente

Sweet Fig and Black Pepper Scones

I have always had a sweet tooth. I don't remember a time when I didn't want cake before  dinner. But we now know that sugar could well be killing us . What's an avowed sweets craver to do? Enter Samantha Seneviratne.  The New Sugar and Spice , her first cookbook, is no low-sugar desserts invective. Instead, it's a cookbook that outright celebrates dessert in all its sugary glory. However, she balances all that sweet with an affection for cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, cloves, and herbs. She argues that we should have our cake, no doubt eat it too, but also ensure that we're not overwhelmed with sugar blandness. Desserts should be returned to a nuanced complexity wherein sugar plays a superb supporting role. Her blog Love, Cake  is a joy, for her photographs are high contrast, high beauty and her writing is delightful. Such expectations carry over into this cookbook, including her introduction where she marries memories of her deceased brother to an ov

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

I do not understand the pumpkin spice latte craze.  I really don't.  And I have tried. Last weekend, we went up to Fort Bragg again, and on Saturday morning, I went to the local coffee shop, and I tried my first pumpkin spice latte. And I'll admit, I could not figure out what all the fuss was about. However, I am not one willing to give up on fall because of a failed pumpkin spiced latte. No, sir. No, I am going to love autumn with all of its reds and oranges and cozy socks and the hint of rain. And I am going to look wildly forward to December when we finally get real fall here, the tree up my block turns a blazing red, and I finally get to pull out my sweaters. In the mean time, I am making squash soup. And lots of it. And then when I grow tired of eating it, I am putting bags of it in my freezer so that I can trot it out in January or February when I don't feel like cooking. This number comes from Ina Garten, and it's as simple as can be. I found