Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is the tradition of the meal. It makes menu planning simple but also allows for some creative wiggle room. We’ve all heard about the crazy ways you can prepare a turkey – deep fried, basted, smoked, stuffed with numerous other fowl – and seen the many great things you can do with pumpkin. There is a true sense of success when you offer up a new take on a “standard” dish that is so well received it is requested the next year.

I especially love that opportunities for improvisation continue the day after the big feast when you open your fridge to face all the leftovers. This year, for work, I had to actually create leftover recipes before the big day so I made small simple batches of roasted turkey breast, sweet potato casserole and pumpkin bread just so I could then re-imagine them as other dishes. After a few false starts (pumpkin bread sausage cakes were a little hockey puckish) I struck on a winning combo with this sandwich recipe and can now say after having finished my second batch of the salad mixture that I may have my first day-after-Thanksgiving traditional dish.  Continue Reading →

Watch This: Beet Cake By Tiger In A Jar

All cooking demonstration videos should be this beautiful. Tiger In A Jar capture the essential grace and art of a kitchen session in her food videos. We may not all be this smooth in our baking endeavors but it’s something to aspire to.

Butternut Squash Soup: A Journey

For a while now I have been working on my butternut squash soup recipe. I am a sucker for a nice bowl of butternut squash soup and have tasted a fair number of them; curried, sesame, coconut…But there is one bowl in particular that I am particularly fond of. It’s the version served seasonally at Supper, one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants. The flavor is delicate, spices melting into the creaminess of the squash; showing off their attention to the little things, they add a schmear of cinnamon marshmallow on the lip of the bowl which is the perfect extra note. I have been trying to replicate this recipe for the last year and a half – trying cream and nutmeg, rosemary, yogurt, vermouth but never managed to get it right. Finally, last weekend I decided to strip it down, undo some of the over thinking I had done about the spices and go with the essential flavor of the squash. I added some sweet potatoes for body and a little sweetness and a touch of sage and, huzzah! The glorious soup that resulted was as close to Supper’s version as I think I’m going to get. Even if it isn’t the exact same it is still damn good. 

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Banana Blueberry Bread + Maritime, A New Found Appreciation

This is banana blueberry bread.

And this is Maritime

After the last week I have a greater appreciation for both. Maritime is a band I have known about for a while and enjoyed but my real true love of them was borne last Thursday when I got to see them live. It was from the stage at Johnny Brendas that the waves of their midwestern bred indie rock emanated and the full weight of their greatness hit. The group initially sprouted from the remnants of The Promise Ring and Dismemberment Plan and the post punk pop sound has definitely stuck with them but they’ve developed their own sound over the years. Continue Reading →

Bacon Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies. Yeah It Happened

One of my favorite parts of my job is the opportunity to do some recipe creation. Last week I was tinkering with the best ways to make sugared bacon – tough gig I know – and once I found my preferred method I began thinking of what else I could do with the sticky, salty, mapley bacon goodness that I had created. I really liked the idea of putting it in a baked good but didn’t want it to be too sweet or too buttery. I also thought a little toothiness would suit the presence of bacon so I decided to whip up a oatmeal cookie base to make a home for these bits of chopped bacon and to compliment the smokiness I included some dark chocolate chips. Continue Reading →

Kitchen Music: Needtobreathe & Snickerdonut Muffins

This is what a little indecision looks like. While listening to Needtobreathe’s new album The Reckoning  yesterday I was inspired to make some comfort food. I have had two recipes on my “to do” list for a few weeks lately Snickerdoodle muffins and cinnamon sugar donut muffins. I couldn’t decide which to make so instead I opted to combine the two – take the fluffy body of the snickerdoodle and the sugary toothy crust of the cinnamon sugar donut. The results far exceeded my expectations. Continue Reading →

I Love Fall (i.e. let the soup season begin)

I love fall. I love the crispness of the colors, the cool air that greets me in the morning and numerous varieties of apples and squash that show up at the farmers market. But I really love it because it means the start of soup season; during which, at least once a week, I make a huge pot of soup and invite an assortment of characters over to feast. It’s one of my most favorite traditions because it gives me a good excuse to tinker with soup recipes and to gather people in my home. Continue Reading →

Carrot Cake My Way

I don’t make carrot cake often; when I was baking professionally making carrot cake meant grating 5-10 lbs of carrots per batch so my shoulders automatically tense up when the thought of making it even crosses my mind. But, it’s my friend Miguel’s favorite and all he asked for for his 50th birthday. So, today I broke out my old recipe and got to work.

In the spirit of revisiting an old standard I figured I would drag out one of the playlists I created for the morning bake off. Because we worked in an open kitchen, so customers could watch us bakers hard at work, we weren’t able to pick the music we listened to while we labored away. This meant that during the 3.5 hours between our 4:30 am call time and the 8 am open we would blast our own playlists to keep us awake and rocking during the bake off. Luckily the three of us bakers had relatively similar tastes in music and were always bringing in different collections of music to entertain and inform each other. Sometimes it got really silly – like the mornings when we’d all sing along at the top of our lungs – others the music was a good distraction from a frustrating morning of burnt cake or failed croissants. But the power of a good kitchen soundtrack was never more apparent than during my time as a baker. The particular playlist I revisited was one I created early on and it’s real mixed bag but I figured I’d share just for a laugh. Continue Reading →

Guac The Day Away

There are plenty of ways to unwind from a crazy intense incredibly long day – head to happy hour, go for a long run, play board games – but none really even come close to coming home, throwing on a classic dance-around-your-kitchen-like-a-crazy-person mix and get down to making guac.

My guac recipe is something I have developed over the years and the one recipe I am asked to make the most. It’s not particularly complicated and can be adjusted to your mood, taste or what’s in the kitchen but there is something magically curative about guacamole therapy.˚ So, go ahead, have at it. Continue Reading →

A Pie For Mikey

A little over a week ago, as I was perusing my usual food blogs & foodie twitter feed I stumbled on this series of tweets.

It just grabbed my eye and with a little tracking around I discovered that Jennifer, a wonderful writer of all things food & creator of recipes, mother of two and a cherished part of the foodie social media community, had just lost her husband Mikey to a sudden and massive heart attack. She was using the comfort of the familiar 140 characters to begin negotiating her new reality. There was something about the honesty openness of her words that struck a chord in me. It is something I found myself doing after receiving the ernesto news. I leaned on the ritual and community of social media to both distract and comfort me. There is something about the slightly removed community that makes adjusting to major visceral life changes a little easier.

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