I did my first round of Thanksgiving shopping yesterday. Navigating the crowded market with my youngest in tow was a little overwhelming. I left my cart unattended for a moment while I grabbed carrots and celery and returned to find someone had taken it and ditched my cranberries in a bin of Brussels sprouts. My young companion went to the bathroom twice. And I forgot at least one ingredient. But I took solace in the fact that, one or two odds and ends aside, the horrors of the grocery store are over. We’ll be picking up the rest of the ingredients for our meal from small, local shops like JM Stock Provisions and MarieBette Bakery. [Read more…]
Brian and I have a couple of Thanksgiving celebrations planned for the coming weekend. We’ll have a small dinner at home Thanksgiving Day and then celebrate with family later in the weekend. Above all, we’ll be focusing on spending time with those we love. I also want the food to be delicious, but instead of holing up all by myself in the kitchen for the week, I’m planning to get my daughters in on the process. I’m going to ask for their help shopping, planning, and cooking our feast.
To help with your Thanksgiving menu planning, I’ve pulled together a list of my favorite recipes. Some are new to me, some are tried-and-true, but I promise they’re all delicious. [Read more…]
Before I’m mired in Thanksgiving shopping and to-do lists, I’m taking the time to pause. Thanksgiving at its best is about gratitude and calls for a little reflection. This year, even more than most, I have much to be grateful for. My work on the blog and elsewhere has been going swimmingly, Brian has a new job he loves, and the girls are healthy and happy. There are a few struggles on the horizon for those I love most, but optimism still rules the day. With all this in mind, I’m planning to prioritize gratitude on Thanksgiving by exchanging the stress of an epic feast for something smaller, simpler, and more considered. I’m trading perfection (which I’ve never been great at anyway) for presence. [Read more…]
Sometimes (most of the time), when I write a to-do list, I include something I’ve already done or at least something very easy. Likewise, I include myself in any list of things I need to bring somewhere: “Keys, me, shoes, sweater, bag.” It’s a built-in guarantee of productivity or organization.
In the madness of Thanksgiving prep, this fresh cranberry relish is my to-do list guarantee. It’s the one Thanksgiving dish that can be completed and crossed off the list in minutes flat. If it didn’t have amazing flavor, I’d probably still keep it on the menu. But I’ve never needed to make that call, because it is delicious.
This recipe began on a cold, rainy morning. A scratchy old records and black coffee kind of day. As the rain fell, things inside were cozy and fragrant with the scent of roasting citrus. The rich jewel tones on the plate vibrated against gray skies and the golds and russets of the water-soaked landscape.
This post is sponsored by Mirassou Winery. Thanks for supporting our sponsors!
My favorite time of year is upon us. Chilly weather is still intermittent, but enough to remind us of winter’s approach. The natural world reflects the shift in temperature and season as leaves flutter down from colorful trees, birds careen in the brisk wind, and an immense groundhog shuffles about the yard brazenly. In the human world, it’s a time of duality – preparing to turn inward and hunker down for the winter, while also fitting in quick trips, time outside, and gatherings with friends.
Just ahead of the season of feasts and festivity that mark the transition from fall to winter, Brian and I decided to host a small harvest dessert party to celebrate this moment before. As usual, we kept things simple – a pear galette, chocolate chess pie, and a cheese and fruit plate with a quick Moscato pear jam.
I offer a simple premise: the holidays are a heavy time filled with chances to fail, or feel lonely, overwhelmed, or inadequate. When we strive for perfection, we can only lose. After barely making it through Halloween – going through all the motions of making costumes, carving pumpkins, and trick-or-treating – hoping all the while the girls didn’t notice our hearts weren’t in it, Brian and I realized we need to be vigilant for the upcoming holidays. Starting now, we’re protecting ourselves from anything but the most pressing obligations, the pressure of excess, and all the other things that take us away from the actual moments spent with those we love. You should too. [Read more…]
This post is sponsored by Hunt’s canned tomato products. Thanks for supporting our sponsors!
In the kitchen, my second great love was Indian food. The first was muffins from a box, a love born of the fact that they were something my seven year-old self could make without a grown-up’s help (that it was sweet was a bonus). After the thrill of muffins wore off, I moved on to trying to figure out Italian food and so-called hearty soup recipes dotted with undercooked bits of grain. For a long time after that, it was cans of pinto beans and boxed mac mostly. And then, Indian food.
I’ve spent the past couple weeks wrestling recipes. My kitchen has been the scene of dry pie crusts, rubbery custards, and ho-hum chicken. However disappointing, these are the reasons we test recipes. They develop and evolve, and each iteration is an improvement. It took some work, but in each case I eventually finished with something I really love and can’t wait to share.
The unexpected twists and turns of recipe development combined with photography-unfriendly storm clouds threw my weekly posting schedule off. I needed something good, pretty much immediately. Something that didn’t need to be worked and reworked. As it often does, inspiration came from ingredients – the season’s first batch of Brussels sprouts and an unexpected basket of quince at the grocery store. [Read more…]
Last weekend’s sudden freeze was right on time, but caught me off guard anyway. I’d given up on the tomatoes, but was still holding out hope for the only watermelon to survive the groundhog and my fall plantings – most of which are just tiny seedlings peeking up from the soil. I also had big plans for the figs growing in friends’ yards. Now, I’ll just have to take comfort in the pumpkin, gourd, and squash army I’ve amassed. [Read more…]