Before the eight days of Chanukah begins Tuesday night, I wanted to share a little holiday recipe inspiration that I am super proud of. Not an easy one to replicate without gluten, dairy, and egg. Until now! Don’t you just love that? Me too! I get excited when a recipe overcomes allergen restrictions and it tastes delicious. You know how hard that can be. While most of us know this recipe as kugel or noodle pudding, we knew it as babka.
Oh have I got a cake for you!
Carrot cake is an all-time favorite in my house and it’s about time I made it as a layer cake. If you have missed carrot cake you need this in your life – it’s a carrot cake lovers dream!
I usually make it as a quick and easy sheet cake but thought with my teenage son turning 16 (he LOVES carrot cake) last week why not make it fancy, shmancy for his birthday with layers and completely studded with pecans. My birthday boy was over-the-moon happy. He’s still a boy to me even though he’s nearly a head taller. I’ll admit this cake needs a good chunk of time but no need to reserve it at once – I never do. I made the frosting a couple of days prior, baked and chilled the cake the day before his birthday and assembled the cake the morning of his birthday while he was sleeping (until noon!) then hid it away in our garage fridge and managed to get a few photos before we dug in. And what better for Easter OR Passover? Actually, any day is a good day for carrot cake. No?
When I think of short ribs, I think luxurious winter comfort food — slow cooking, holiday meal, celebratory meal, sultry date-night-in kind of food all apply. Take it a step further using the braised liquid, pulled apart meat (actually not much pulling, it’s so tender), and you have yourself a rich, deeply flavored ragu that is impressive, yet minimal effort. I made it with wide fresh lasagna sheets sliced into thick noodles this time but have also served it over polenta, penne, even cauliflower mash for a low-carb alternative. All pair wonderfully with short rib ragu.
Many weeks ago, at dinner, I asked the kids’ what kind of pie they would like for Thanksgiving dessert. My teenager began with I don’t know… then was quickly interrupted by his younger brother, Michael who chuckled, then blurted out, I want pumpkin pie (for those of you new here, Michael, 12, has a twin, Ely, they both have the neurological disorder autism with moderate expressive language.). We all looked at each other, shocked. Then Ely chimed in, with perfect eye contact, to say I want apple pie cake. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I know it doesn’t sound like anything much, but for us, these moments are a big deal. You see, Michael and Ely don’t usually take part in group conversation, so to help with this we prompt speech or sound out the first letter of the word in conversation. It was another glimmer of hope that we are getting through, we are breaking through, more so every day (we, as in my husband and me. I could never manage it all without him.).
I guess you could say this is a short-cut version of a sweet potato mash. Kinda sorta. As much as I love making a big family-style casserole dish, I don’t enjoy the extra prep work of chopping, boiling, mashing – you get the idea. And if we took a minute to discuss the boiling part, I would say we then need to add sugar, fat and ‘cream’ to bring back the flavor we lost in the orange-tinged water left behind.
“By November 24, giving thanks can start to feel like a command performance rather than a genuine act. Your social-media feed is all gratitude, all the time (#30daysofthanks!), and you’re up to your googly eyeballs in turkey-themed craft projects. It’s OK to feel jaded. “You can’t turn on gratitude” just because it’s Thanksgiving, says Robin Berman, M.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the author of Permission to Parent. In fact, peak holiday season may not even be the best time to make it a priority. “Gratitude happens in quiet pauses and moments, not when you have a giant to-do list and you’re racing around,” she says. So how do you embrace the season sincerely? Ten experts are here to help. Let’s do this, November.” …
Thanksgiving is almost here, are you as excited as I am? I bet you are! I’m going to keep it short and sweet since I have many recipes to share with you. Say hello to balsamic brussels sprouts. Oh how I love thee.
I love, love the taste of balsamic, especially on brussels sprouts. Have you ever had brussels sprouts this way? Goodness gracious does it make this classic Thanksgiving veggie come alive … the tangy, the sweet, the sour pucker … then drizzled over perfectly roasted sprouts with just a touch of snap for texture. Just goodness. Please ignore my overuse of the word goodness – some habits are hard to break and this really is goodness I tell ya.
I know, I know, I’m really late to the party, but I’ve come with some super quick and easy dessert that are a chocolate-lovers dream and allergen-free, so nobody is left out! More on the whimsy side rather than the ‘hey it’s Halloween and I’m going all out!’ kind of dessert, but the rich, creamy chocolate will have you forget my lackluster efforts with some white chocolate bark for good measure and to keep this yin-yang in our chocolate universe. This is chocolate heaven, my friends – Halloween or otherwise.
With the cooler weather we were having a couple of weeks ago, and all sorts of squashes making their way onto the stands, I thought a braised chicken dish would seem fitting since fall has arrived. I served it over cauliflower rice, with a side of roasted carrots tossed in rosemary, and a new bread recipe (good enough for sauce-dipping) that was a hit (will share soon). It was a delicious Friday night dinner for the suddenly chilly weather we were having and one I will be making again soon. And the spiced applesauce bundt cake, that I am still thinking about. Surprisingly, dinner wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be, with an inch of room for dessert (there’s always room for dessert).
Hey guys, have you bought your Mom a gift yet? If not, grab a chair, some coffee and come check out my list of gift ideas from around the web to show your love and appreciation for all that she does without maxing out your credit card (okay, there is that one bag that may, but I had to add it in because it’s gorgeous).