Pick Up Sticks! Honey Stung Carrots with Yogurt Dip

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imageCarrots are having a moment.  Restaurants are featuring this common vegetable in interesting and starring roles.  The earthy sweetness of carrots pairs well with exotic spices and the addition of sea salt.  Heirloom varieties are now available in a rainbow of colors, taking the carrot from ordinary to wow!   Continue reading

Thanksgiving Table

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Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  It’s not about the food for me but all about the gathering with loved ones and taking time to reflect on life’s many blessings.

Today I share with you our Thanksgiving table.  The inspiration was the glittered pumpkin in the center of the table which I placed on an embroidered bronze organza runner.  I surrounded it with gourds, mini pumpkins, pheasant feathers, seed pods, rattan spheres, horn candleholders ,silk artichokes, bittersweet vine,  mercury glass votive holders and 3 large glitter oranments in gold and bronze to pick up on the glitter of the pumpkin.  The rest of the table elements were all foraged from my back yard:  pine cones, dried astilbe, dried oakleaf hydrangea, dried sedum Autumn Joy and sweet gum seed pods.  I heaped all these around the table to create a feeling of abundance and bring loads of texture.  I made name card holders out of twigs and twine and used gold cardstock.  Casual dishes in fall colors were chosen and set on rattan chargers.  Gold napkins were tied in birch bark napkin rings.  Amber glassware completed this harvest tablescape.

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Easy Pumpkin Mousse With Peanut Brittle Topping

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This creamy mousse gets its silky smooth texture and thickening from Greek yogurt.  It comes together quickly in a food processor.  Crumbled peanut brittle on top  gives it a satisfying crunch. It can be made up to 2 days in advance so it is perfect for stress-free entertaining.  It is elegant enough for company or simple enough for a weekday family meal.

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Poached Pear Salad with Blue Cheese, Candied Walnuts and Bacon

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Looking for an elegant appetizer salad this holiday season?  This stunning dish has it all:  seasonal appeal, unexpected savory twist on poached pears,  delicious and make-ahead.  It is essentially a whole fragrant and lightly spiced poached pear, cut in thirds horizontally and reconstructed with layers of blue cheese, walnuts, bacon and micro greens.   The pears can be poached in advance and the walnuts caramelized as much as a week ahead of time.  The salad can be assembled in a few minutes at the time of serving. Continue reading

Days of Wine and Roses: Throwing a Wine and Cheese Party

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“They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.”
– Ernest Dowson, 1867 – 1900

A wine and cheese party is one of the easiest and most popular parties you can throw.  There is something really appealing about a party where the focus is really on the conversation with guests casually hanging around the serving table.  The party can be put together quickly and suitable for even impromptu gatherings.   It can be given for a handful of intimate friends or expanded easily for a large group. You don’t need to be a wine or cheese connaisseur to enjoy giving this stress-free party.  Enlist the professionals at the store for ideal pairing suggestions.  Select cheeses that are a little more exotic than the usual offerings.  Like Brie?  Try a creamy St André or a decadent Lincet Délice de Bourgogne instead.  A good rule of thumb is to select 3 cheeses:  a soft, a hard and a blue.  Add interesting crackers, seasonal fruit, nuts and olives and you’ve got a party on a platter.  Introduce cured meats for heartier offerings.  Pair 3 wines, 2 reds and 1 white.  You can select a theme such as all French wines and cheeses or mix and match.  With the popularity of Farm to Table, consider finding artisanal cheeses produced locally paired with local wines.

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White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust

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Returning from vacation this week, I was super excited to get home. My oldest son had decided to come home from college for the weekend and I would have less than 24 hours with him. We were arriving close to dinner time and it would be our only meal together. Sébastien loves my pies but I knew I didn’t have enough time to go all out or whether I had everything I needed on hand to make him a pie.  In a time crunch and unprepared,  I just couldn’t not make something special for him. I looked in the pantry and found pumpkin, gingersnaps and white chocolate. So was born this new recipe! Continue reading

Cranberry-Quinoa Whole Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Whole stuffed squash are not only nutritious, they are a gorgeous meal-in-a-bowl, right from nature.  Full of flavor, they can easily be adapted to what is in your pantry.  You can use any mixture of grains, any combination of herbs and switch up the fruit and nuts.  The addition of diced sausage or pancetta will satisfy any carnivore eaters.  My version features a herbed quinoa- cranberry stuffing with chopped pecans.  Get creative with your own combination and bring fall to your table. Continue reading