“Never discard anything without saying thank you and good-bye. …
Tidying is the act of confronting yourself. …
We can only transform our lives if we sincerely want to. …
Anxiety arises from not being able to see the whole picture. ..
Follow your intuition and all will be well. …
Tidying orders and relaxes the mind.” Marie Kondo
Long before Marie Kondo was a sensational tidying-up phenemonon, we have been steadily purging our home of the accumulating stuff of life. Where she has been most helpful to us has been in the editing of books. Books are one of my life’s greatest passions and I have a hard time giving them up. Armed with Marie’s promise of sparking joy by keeping only meaningful tomes, I have been donating piles and piles of books to the library, Goodwill and friends. I had however a secret cupboard of special cookbooks that didn’t get culled. A rebellious hold-out of sorts. I just couldn’t part with these books. One of them was Martha Stewart’s classic “Entertaining” book which I’ve had since 1989! Although I haven’t made anything from it in YEARS(Marie’s voice is nagging me!), it is the book from which I learned to cook. Many legendary dinner parties were inspired from its pages. It is what led many to dub me Martha Stewart back in the day. So in order for Prince Charming not to KonMari my cookbook stash, I justified its existence by finding a dessert recipe for a potluck in its well-worn, stained pages. This old-fashioned coconut cake won me over. I had never tried a boiled 7 minute frosting back in its popularity days. It was a fluffly, delicious concoction in a marshmallow-fluff sort-of consistency. The cake sparked joy to all who enjoyed it, including its baker and Prince Charming. Step away from the book stash, Marie. The cookbook is, for now, staying!
Doesn’t the cake look like a giant snowball on our January iced over patio table? The pretty branch is from our beloved witch hazel tree blooming in the winter garden.
Meyer lemons are in season and this cake is the perfect way to make them shine! The Meyer lemon is a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange. It is thinner and smoother skinned with a distinctive taste. In this cake, thinly-sliced Meyer lemon slices (use a mandoline) are arranged in a concentric pattern in a caramel base. The zest of 2 more Meyer lemons goes into the batter to add another layer of citrus flavor. The cake, inspired by a polenta cake from pastry chef Hannah Buoye of A16 Rockridge in Oakland, CA, is a dense, moist dessert as pretty as it is delicious. It has a really nice crumb and a bit of a crunch from the cornmeal. As the lemon slices bake, they absorb the butter and the brown sugar from the caramel base and turn into a marmalade-like consistency and taste. If you are a lemon lover, this cake is for you! The caramelized lemon slices will require a serrated knife to cut into. Let the cake cool 2 hours before taking it out of the pan.
“Cheers to the new year and another chance for us to get it right.” Oprah Winfrey
January is for many of us a time of healthier eating. This salad is a little different with seasonal oranges, cranberries and fennel in a terrifc vinaigrette made with orange juice and capers. It is rich with texture and layers of flavor. Dig in!
“There are two kinds of gratitude: the sudden kind we feel for what we take and the larger kind we feel for what we give.” Edwin Arlington Robinson
For our family, the best part of Thanksgiving is all the leftovers! With grown men around, they don’t last long. But by the second or third day, we’re all starting to hanker for something different. With a fridge still stuffed to the gills with leftovers here are some ways I transformed the leftovers.
Avocado Toast with Leftover Brussel Sprouts:
On toasted sourdough bread, I spread some smashed avocado with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of sea salt. I fried 2 sunny side up eggs and sat them over the avocado. In the same pan, I sautée leftover brussel sprouts just to warm them up and scattered them over the eggs. We had made our brussel sprouts with bits of bacon so they were especially suited to breakfast leftovers! Prince Charming was a very happy man! Continue reading
Fresh tart red cranberries are sweetened with pure maple syrup and flavored with orange juice and orange zest in this easy cranberry sauce studded with nuts. The sauce thickens as it cools into a chunky consistency perfect to go alongside your Thanksgiving bird and to spread, of course, on those leftover sandwiches. I especially enjoy leftovers in my morning oatmeal. I really like this recipe because the proportions are 1:1:1:1 making it super simple to double or triple the recipe as we always do. The sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept refrigerated or it can be frozen for up to a month. If freezing, add the walnuts or pecans to the finished sauce after thawing, so the nuts don’t soften. Freshly grated ginger can be added for a bit of spice if you like.
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.