Better than Grandma’s Pie Crust

Recipe yields enough dough for two flaky buttery pie crusts. I usually double recipe, which yields enough dough for one pie and a 9″ x 13″ pan. This crust is great for pies, cobblers, dumplings, etc. Although I’m posting photos … Continue reading

Cranberry Sauce with a Twist

I prepare this cranberry sauce every Thanksgiving. When my sister and her family visit I omit the additional fruits and add chopped jalapeno peppers and culandro/recito. Other times, I boil cranberries with a whole cinnamon stick and cloves for a … Continue reading

Thanksgiving Menu

As many of you know, I am not a full time food and entertaining blogger. I am actually a PhD candidate at the University of New Orleans, preparing to graduate this upcoming Spring. As a result, I have several dissertation … Continue reading

Thanksgiving Centerpiece Idea

A delicious and special meal should always be enjoyed on a well decorated table to include fresh pressed linens, shined silver, sparkling glassware, and a beautiful yet simple centerpiece. When creating or purchasing a centerpiece, it should either be low and broad or placed in a tall candelabra or vase with lots of volume on top. I recommend these styles for it allows for decor that does not interfere with conversation.

What I like most about the  centerpiece below is that it combines fresh vegetables (artichokes), succulents (which don’t require much water), and the rustic wood element. I’m creating centerpieces with height and color using gilded branches on top and fresh vegetables at the base. I’ll be sure to post photos soon.

I hope you’re inspired to created a centerpiece or possibly many arrangements for your guests to enjoy this holiday season. Remember, a beautiful warm and inviting home is more important than the food you serve. Make sure your environment and of course you, are welcoming to all who enter.

 

Lover’s Curry Chicken (a la Lauryn)

This recipe is an amalgam of  Lover’s (my sister) recipe and my own. Although my mother is a good cook, Lover and I have a similar palate (read: we both like extra spicy food) so I always wanted her to … Continue reading

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash soup. The perfect first course to your Thanksgiving meal.

Butternut squash soup. The perfect first course for your Thanksgiving meal. The soup tureen is a staple in my kitchen. Great for serving soups and stews directly from the table.

 

 

I serve this soup as my first course every Thanksgiving. It is a simple soup with lots of flavor. For an added treat, I usually top it with duck confit (duck thighs that have been browned in duck fat and shredded) or browned diced ham and a little creme fraiche. Once you try this, you too will make it a staple on your Thanksgiving table.

Serves 10-12 cups OR 6-8 large bowls. 

Ingredients

3 lbs butternut or any seasonal squash peeled, seeds removed, and cut into large pieces (for easy skin removal, cut in half, remove seeds, cover in plastic wrap and microwave until slightly soft— Please note, many grocery chains now sell squash already peeled and cut up. This is a great time saver when preparing for large groups.)

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut into quarters

4 carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces

2 granny smith apples (although any apples that you happen to have on hand will work too), peeled and cut into quarters

1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil + 1/2 tablespoon salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 quarts chicken stock

3 sprigs each: fresh thyme, and fresh sage

2 dried bay leaves

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 tablespoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan with foil.

Toss onions, apples, carrots, and squash with olive oil in large bowl. Place in even layer on sheet pan and sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 15- 20 minutes. Then cover with foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Vegetables should be soft.

Roasted squash, apple, onion, and carrot

Roasted squash, apple, onion, and carrot

Remove vegetables from oven and set pan aside.

In large heavy pot add 1 1/2 quarts of chicken stock. Reserve half of one quart for later use.

Heat on medium and add fresh thyme and sage. Reduce temperature and allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place roasted vegetables into blender 1-2 cups at a time. Add some of the reserved chicken stock to each batch for easy blending, Blend on low until smooth velvety consistency. If using an immersion stick/blender, simply add all vegetables and remaining stock to pot with chicken stock and blend.

Pour blended vegetables into chicken stock. Add butter, ginger, nutmeg, salt, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves. Stir. Allow soup to simmer on low for an additional 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves, thyme stems, and whole sage leaves.

Remove soup from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Slowly whisk in heavy cream (optional).

Return to pot to lowest stove setting. Soup is ready to serve.