Monday, November 30, 2009

Challah-Apple Stuffing

This is basically the same stuffing I made last year, but this time there were no issues. The reason I didn’t post it for Thanksgiving ’08 was due to the fact that the stuffing kept drying out and I continued to add things to it, so while really delicious in the end, I had no idea what was actually in it or at least not well enough to tell other people about it.

I’m marking this down as vegetarian even though I used chicken stock. I used about half veggie stock and my intention had been to solely use veggie stock, but I didn’t defrost quite enough. Make your challah for this at least a few days ahead of time to cube it and dry it out. I skip the glaze and poppy seeds when making it for stuffing. I modified the original recipe heavily (it calls for pecans, raisins, and mushrooms, among other things and uses corn oil instead of butter), so this one is quite different from what’s in the book. I think it’s amazing. You can replace the butter with olive oil or another tasty oil if you’d like, but I think the butter gives it great taste.

Challah-Apple Stuffing modified from 2nd Ave. Deli:

13 c. challah, cubed (pretty much one loaf)
3 tart apples (Jonagold, McIntosh, or Granny Smith work well), cored and chopped
3 c. onion, chopped
2 c. celery, chopped
1-2 Tb. seasonings (I used a bit of sage, rosemary, oregano, and ground pepper)
About 6 Tb. unsalted butter
1½ - 2 c. veggie stock

In a very large skillet (I use my wok), heat 2 tablespoons of butter, add onion and celery and sauté until onion is brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Add another 2 tablespoons of butter, and sauté apples until lightly browned.

Add onion and celery back to the skillet, mix together and add in challah. Stir around until well mixed. Sprinkle in stock, making sure all of the bread is moistened. Add seasonings and toss stuffing. Add in a bit more butter, stir until melted. Toss mix until everything is warm and delicious. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Seriously, this is so very tasty. I love the heck out of it. The apples and the challah are perfect friends. I know this is technically dressing and not stuffing, but whatever it is, it’s good.

Roasted Butternut Squash

I love squash. Like, really, really love it. I think it is among the most perfect foods in the world. So of course I make it and then forget it in the fridge for Thanksgiving. Don’t worry, it was eaten with the leftovers, but still, I’m a bit sad it didn’t get to sit with all the other dishes I made. Especially since it was the only actually healthy, vegan dish I made that night.

In any case, this is really easy and would work for any fall/winter meal. I highly recommend it. The original (here) has notes about adjusting amounts to the size of your squash.

Roasted Butternut Squash from

Makes 3-4 cups

1 medium butternut squash
2 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tb. maple syrup
1 Tb. apple cider vinegar
1 orange, juiced (I didn’t have any left, so it became ½ c. oj)
Fresh sage leaves (I grabbed 6-7 off of my plant)
Generous sprinkle of fresh black pepper
Sprinkling of sea salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prep whole butternut squash by slicing in halves or quarters and removing seeds.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Tear a few sage leaves and place them in the bottom of the dish as well. Place squash halves in dish, flesh side up. Mine were squash quarters, but it still works.

Drizzle orange juice over top of the squash. Drizzle about maple syrup, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar over squash. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top of the squash. Not all of the liquid will be absorbed by the squash, but rather it is used as a heating liquid and flavor-adding ingredient in the bottom of the pan. Flip halves (or quarters) flesh side down to soak up the liquid.

Cover dish lightly with foil. Place in oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, turn oven to broil and baste it in a bit more of the sauce sitting in the pan. Here I turned the quarters over so that the other side could absorb more juice. Broil on high for 5-7 minutes, or until top starts to caramelize. Watch it closely.

Remove squash. It should be tender and easily breakable with a fork. Allow whole squash halves to cool 15 minutes before scooping or slicing out the flesh. Serve in a bowl with a drizzle of the baking juices. Garnish with fresh sage leaves and pepper.

Seriously, so tasty. I made this early on Thursday, so that’s probably why I forgot it. Oh well, I still got to enjoy it! Also, sorry about the smudge in the edge of the picture. Didn't notice it until now, so most of the following posts will have that weird smudge in the corner. Apparently I shouldn't take pictures while cooking.

Deviled Eggs

Last year Carrina and her husband, Mike, came over for Thanksgiving and brought deviled eggs. Now I really love deviled eggs, but these are in a category all their own. These are really, really good. So we had to have some again this year, even if they were elsewhere.

And really hard to make pretty! Seriously, even with help peeling the eggs, more than a few tore. Good thing I’m not always going to looks around here. The flavor is definitely there and the process, overall, isn’t that hard. I doubled the recipe below and it was fantastic. Sorry about the blurry picture. I didn’t realize it was blurry until typing this up now and they are definitely all gone.

Classic Deviled Eggs from Cooks Illustrated via Carrina:

Makes 1 Dozen Filled Egg Halves

7 large eggs (cold)
¾ tsp. grainy mustard
3 Tb. mayonnaise with olive oil
1½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce

If all of your egg white halves are in perfect shape, discard two. During testing we found it usual for a couple to rip at least slightly (haha, or in my case, many and a lot), which worked out well because it meant the remaining whites were very well stuffed.

Place eggs in medium saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water, and bring to boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill medium bowl with cold water and ice cubes. Transfer eggs to ice water with slotted spoon; let sit 5 minutes.

Peel eggs and slice each in half lengthwise with paring knife. Remove yolks to small bowl .This part was super easy. They just popped right out. Arrange whites on serving platter (or a plate), discarding two worst-looking halves. Mash yolks with fork until no large lumps remain. Add mustard, mayonnaise, vinegar, Worcestershire, and salt and pepper to taste; mix with rubber spatula, mashing mixture against side of bowl until smooth. I used a fork the whole time and it was fine.

At this point, the recipe gets obsessed with using pastry bags and star tips. Carrina didn’t do this last year and advised me to just scoop the filling in with a spoon. I’d advise the same. Serve at room temperature.

And try not to eat them too quickly. They are that good.

Friday, November 27, 2009


I made so much stuff for Thanksgiving this year, it is almost ridiculous. Almost. Anyway, I have several posts ahead, so huzzah to my blog being updated! It will even include the dish I forgot in the refrigerator, but it is very good and will hopefully be eaten today. I hope you all had a wonderful, food filled holiday.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Be prepared, dear blog readers, as more baked goods are on the way. It is fall and Thanksgiving is coming. I’m also coming up on the end of my semester and will want to fill my time with tasties. I might even get back to that big list I created. Maybe.

On another note, yesterday was the one year anniversary of this blog, and tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of the first recipe I posted on this blog. My posting does seem to lag, but I want you all to know how much I love blogging about food and hearing your comments. Thanks for coming along with me on this food journey. That sounded really new age, I’m sorry!


Lemon Ginger Blueberry Muffins

After Amy left, she went to Seattle and had her second birthday party. The girl celebrates her birthday like I do! Anyway, Aaron and I hadn’t been up to Seattle in forever, Lindsay was just finishing up her pediatrics rotation there, our friend had had a baby months before, and Renai lives there, so we decided to visit everyone and go to the party. Renai was gracious enough to let us stay at her apartment in Ballard, so I decided to make “Thank You For Letting Us Stay At Your House” muffins for her.

She’s a huge fan of ginger, like me, so I knew I had to do something with that. I also really was in the mood to make lemon blueberry muffins. That’s when I decided to make something up and hope for the best. I got the base of the muffins from here (with modifications, of course), the ginger idea from here, and the lemon idea from my own brain. I think these turned out to be pretty good. Sorry about the picture being so dark. My current camera is from 2002. Hopefully that will be changing soon.

Lemon Ginger Blueberry Muffins:

Makes 12

6 Tb. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 c. packed brown sugar
½ c. skim milk
1 large egg
1 c. all-purpose flour
½ c. whole wheat flour
1½ tsps. baking powder
1 Tb. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
Juice of ½ lemon
About 2 tb. lemon zest
5 ½ Tb. minced candied ginger
2 Tb. brandy
1 ½ c. blueberries
Raw sugar for muffin tops

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put liners in muffin cups.

Mix ginger, lemon zest, and brandy in a small bowl and set aside.

Whisk together butter, brown sugar, milk, and egg in a bowl until combined well. Whisk together flour, baking powder, ground ginger, and salt in a large bowl. Add milk mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in ginger mixture. Fold in blueberries gently.

Divide batter among muffin cups. Sprinkle tops with raw sugar and bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

I thought these were fantastic. So did Renai’s cat. Lindsay called them sushi muffins because the taste of ginger reminds her of sushi. I kind of like that name. I might mess around with these a bit, but mostly, I like the way they are and I like making things up.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Torta al Cacao

What do you do when a dear friend is visiting and it’s going to be their birthday? You make them something totally delicious. But what do you do when you also have a food blog? You take a risk on something new and post about it. And that’s what this is!

My dear, fabulous, oh-so-wonderful bestie Amy was visiting Portland last week after being in New Zealand for seven months. It was also her 25th birthday! A few days before she came down from Seattle, I emailed her about her dessert preferences and this is what she said: “I prefer chocolatey things. Maybe cupcakes would be fun? I don't like desserts that involve fruit, and I don't like pie. But brownies, cake, cupcakes, etc, those are all good.” Now I love desserts that involve fruit, but it wasn’t my birthday and chocolate is fabulous. So I started debating making Mexican brownies or Irish cupcakes again. And then I started looking at Tastespotting and searching desserts on Epicurious.

And just two days before Amy was to arrive, I found it. I found THE birthday dessert. And everything was in grams and such, so I started to convert it and had everything converted when, while beginning to bake, I remembered that I have a food scale…which can measure in grams. Life works out so nicely sometimes, doesn’t it? Or maybe it was just because I was making chocolate cake.

Torta al Cacao from bell’ alimento:

Makes one fabulous cake

200g sugar
50g butter (plus additional to butter pan), room temp
1 c. milk
1 large egg
50g unsweetened baking chocolate - grated finely. (I used Ghirardelli as she suggests using a nice chocolate as it is the star of the dish.)
1 capful of pure vanilla extract
125g of Greek yogurt
1 tsp baking soda
110g flour
Powdered sugar (to garnish)

Preheat oven to 355 degrees.

Using a stand mixer add the sugar, butter and egg to the mixing bowl. Mix until creamy and very light in color (a few minutes of gossiping with the birthday girl will do). Once the mixture is creamy, add the grated chocolate, tell the birthday girl that grating chocolate is proof of how much you love her, and mix well. At this point, it didn’t look chocolate-y enough, so I added some Ghirardelli baking cocoa powder that I was fortunate to have on hand. I think, while doing conversions, that I didn’t grate enough chocolate. In a bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to mixing bowl. Stir until incorporated. Add the baking soda to the flour and gradually add to mixing bowl. The gradual part is key, as it is with almost all baking. Mix the flour in slowly and you’ll have a well constructed baked good. Seriously, take your time. Drink some wine with the birthday girl. Stir until well incorporated.

Butter and flour a 10″ round cake pan. I like to butter and sugar my baking pans. It makes cakes taste just a little better. I believe I found the tip on some random recipe on Epicurious. I’m indebted to that anonymous user. Add batter to pan. Tap pan so that air bubbles are released. Give the beater to the birthday girl to eat. Place cake into oven and bake for approximately 45-50 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test, which for me, was closer to an hour. Allow cake to cool. Move to your serving platter or cake stand and dust with powdered sugar. I actually do have a cake stand and I think this was the first time it was used to hold a cake. It converts into an appetizer tray and a punch bowl and is one of the greatest wedding registry gifts we received. Thanks Lindsay! We had one solitary birthday candle in the house, so that’s what went in the cake.

It was transported, carefully, to my friend David’s house and after dinner, consumed. And it was so good! It is both dense and fluffy at the same time. I am definitely going to make this again. I may even get fruit involved. Happy 25th birthday Amy!
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