To say I like squash would be an understatement. I love it and cook it any chance I get. Butternut, acorn, kuri, I love them all. There are so many ways to enjoy squash and this post will tempt you to try it stuffed, roasted in wedges, in stews, in pasta, in couscous, in cake, in a quiche, in a fall panzanella salad and even as a mini tureen for soup! The first recipe is new and inspired by Julie at Hostess at Heart. It is a maple-bacon stuffed acorn squash, oven roasted to golden perfection. The maple syrup glazing on the cut surface transforms into a wonderful caramelized texture. The salty-sweet combination is a winner. Totally simple but irresistible as a main or as a side dish. The rest of the recipes are from the archives. Just click on the highlighted titles to be taken to the recipes.
Years ago Gourmet Magazine had a recipe for a sesame-crusted salmon appetizer with an orange-miso dipping sauce that was my go to party appetizer. This recipe was inspired by that dish but as a main course and making the sauce with tahini and pomegranate molasses instead of miso. It was a colorful and delicious change from the usual salmon. You can substitute honey for the pomegranate molasses. I added some saffron to the sauce for an additional layer of Middle-Eastern flavor but that is totally optional.
Sesame-Crusted Salmon with Orange-Tahini Sauce
- 1 salmon fillet, about 2 pounds
- 4 tablespoons of black or white sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil(use a citrus infused one if you have it)
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons of orange muscat champagne vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses or honey
- 1/8 teaspoon of saffron threads (optional)
- 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
- Heat your BBQ grill to high. Place the salmon skin side down, on a presoaked cedar plank. Rub the salmon with the olive oil. Give it a few grinds of the pepper and sea salt mill. Sprinkle evenly with the sesame seeds. Place on the hot grill and cook about 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of fillet, lid closed. The salmon is done when it easily flakes with a fork. No need to flip fish over while cooking. Discard plank after use.
- To make the sauce: whisk together the tahini, orange juice, vinegar, salt, molasses and saffron if using. Set aside. Can be made a day in advance and brought to room temperature.
- When the salmon is done, sprinkle with the pomegranate arils and serve with the sauce on the side.
“Gratitute unlocks the fullness of life.” Melody Beattie
Thanksgiving tables are fun to set with all the rich colors of fall and the theme of abundance. Every year my tables vary with how many people I am hosting. In this post, I’ll share several ideas for setting your holiday table.
This year I’ve played around with white and gold as a color theme, simply elegant. Off-white woven placemats were set on a bare table with an off-white and gold runner, repurposed from Christmas. A beautiful pashmina scarf or a length of fabric you love can stand in as a runner. I came up with 2 variations of this basic table setting. In both, I tied a gold organza ribbon around off-white napkins embroidered with gold Fleur-de-Lys. The Fleur-de-Lys are a nod to my family’s French ancestry. I added a gold leaf ornaments with a tiny gold acorn on each. The ornaments can be given to the guests as a favor. A gold charger was layered with a white dinner plate and topped with a glass amber salad plate. Amber glassware adds another layer of gold.
One centerpiece is a modern, non perishable vignette, which can be set out well in advance of the big day. In a small gold and white ceramic vase, I placed a sheaf of wheat and surrounded it with some small gilded berries and moss. I set the vase on a mirrored tray and elevated it on top of a beaded gratitude journal. A brass spiky sphere adds more gold color and interest. The gold and mother-of-pearl opera glasses are a nod to the German ancentry in our family, having belonged to a great-great grandmother on my husband’s side. The flatware is my Godmother’s silver. I really loved weaving family history in this table setting. Think of your own family history and compose a meaningful centerpiece reflecting your ancestry.
The other version featured a more traditional arrangement with fall flowers in a white soup tureen. I created it with supermarket flowers, some dried seed pods, flowers and foliage from the garden, as well as feather clusters.
The white and gold theme is an easy canvas to decorate around. My favorite was the one with the modern wheat arrangement and the unadorned salad plates.
From the archives, I’ve compiled inspiring Thanksgiving/fall table ideas from years past. Click on the highlighted title to be taken to the post to read more about each table setting.
You can read a step by step tutorial on creating a Thanksgiving flower centerpiece here.
If you’d like to try your hand at designing a Beidermeier-style centerpiece on a cake platter with fall flowers, visit this post. They are so much fun to do and get a lot of oohs and aahs!
I hope I’ve inspired you to create a lovely Thanksgiving table of your own. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.
“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving.”
W. T. Purkiser