Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

I know Brussels sprouts are a cool-weather vegetable, and you’re only supposed to buy seasonally, blah, blah, blah. But I just couldn’t resist these little vibrant green buds at the grocery store last week.

As with most vegetables, I find roasting is the best treatment because a) it’s crazy simple, just place on a sheet tray with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, b) roasting concentrates the flavor of the vegetables and makes them taste like their best selves. So Brussels sprouts taste more Brussels sprout-y and eggplant tastes more eggplant-y…you get it.

Good if you like a certain vegetable and still good if you (think you) don’t like a certain vegetable because roasting will bring out the vegetable’s best flavor. And then you might change your mind. That’s how I came to love underrated veggies like Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

Anyway, I pretty much already posted the recipe for this (see comment A), but I like consistency so I’ll type it up in my usual format below.

One note: when purchasing Brussels sprouts, look for smaller buds that are vibrant green and tightly closed. Avoid those with soft heads and yellowing or loose leaves.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts..

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • ½ lb Brussels sprouts
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper

Prepare

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line a sheet tray with foil or parchment paper and brush with a little olive oil.

Rinse and dry the Brussels sprouts. Trim any extra part of the stems and remove loose leaves. Larger buds can be cut in half or even quartered.

Place on sheet tray in a single layer and avoid overcrowding. Brush with olive oil and then liberally sprinkle with cumin, salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix and ensure the olive oil and seasoning covers all the buds.

Roast in the oven until the cut sides are golden brown, the outside leaves are crisp, and the insides are tender. For my oven, this took about 40 minutes.

Honey Sriracha Chicken with Lemon

Honey + Sriracha Chicken Though this dish combines two flavors I normally don’t use in the same recipe, they work really well together here. Sriracha is one of my favorite condiments for just about anything and it pairs perfectly with the honey for a delicious spicy and sweet glaze.

I made this on a weeknight last week and served it with some brown rice as a twist on Chinese takeout. It was so, so good. The chicken thighs were tender and flavorful. The sriracha and honey balanced each other out well and each bite had a touch of sweet with a kick of heat. It was even better after a few minutes when the rice soaked up some of the extra glaze from the chicken. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs bone-in chicken leg and thigh quarters
  • ¼ cup clover honey
  • ¼ cup sriracha
  • 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Prepare

Preheat the oven to 425 °F. Place the chicken in a large baking dish. Brush olive oil on the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 15 minutes to allow skin to brown and get crispy. In the meantime, place the honey, sriracha, lemon juice, and soy sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine and allow to cook on medium-low heat until the sauce thickens slightly.

Take the chicken out of the oven and brush the reduced honey sriracha glaze all over each piece of chicken. Return to oven and cook for about 20-25 minutes more or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when cut.

Chicken Curry With Brown Rice

For me, chicken curry is a go-to recipe in the winter months. Served with rice or naan, it’s a hearty, warming dish that’s perfect for this time of year.

Chicken CurryIngredients

  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1–inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped and seeds removed (optional)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup plain whole-milk yogurt, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Prepare

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the cumin seeds and allow them to cook until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped onion and cook until browned, about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, chop the tomatoes and reserve ¼ cup. Set aside and place remaining tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Add the garlic cloves, ginger, jalapeno (if using), turmeric, coriander powder, chili powder, and garam masala and puree until uniform.

Once the onions have browned, add the tomato mixture plus the reserved ¼ cup of chopped tomatoes to pot and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Then add the chicken and mix to coat all the pieces of chicken with the tomato mixture. Cook for about 5-7 minutes.

Add the chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium low and allow to simmer (uncovered) for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Once chicken is cooked, remove from heat. Slowly stir in the yogurt and chopped cilantro and mix to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If desired, top with additional chopped cilantro for garnish and serve over rice or with naan.

Double Chocolate Brownies with Pecans

Double Chocolate Brownies w Pecans
If it’s not clear from the title of this post, I did not make any New Year’s resolutions regarding the limiting of desserts. And if I had, I would have fallen off the wagon this weekend.

These brownies are decadent and sweet and dangerously simple to make. I’m usually a little apprehensive when it comes to baking, with all the precise measurements and accurate baking times, but I have made these twice in the last week (one batch is for a friend, I promise!) and both times they came out perfect.

Double Chocolate Brownies with Pecans

Ingredients

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup pecans (chopped)
  • ½ semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prepare

Pre-heat oven to 350 °F. Prepare a 8″ x 13″ baking pan.

In a medium bowl, add oil, sugar and eggs. Beat to combine. In another bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, stirring to combine until all ingredients are incorporated. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.

Place in oven for about 13 minutes or until brownies are starting to set, but are still uncooked. Remove from oven and quickly sprinkle chopped pecans and chocolate chips on top. Press toppings lightly into batter with a spoon.

Return to oven for about 8 additional minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out clean. Allow to cool before cutting.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Blossoms..
I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. I like both separately just fine, but together, it’s something I can’t resist. So when I saw these Peanut Butter Blossoms on a cookie advent calendar, two thoughts came to mind:

Thought #1. Those look delicious and I would like to try making them.

Thought #2. I would also like to meet the ambitious baker who has actually completed a cookie advent calendar. Obviously we would bond instantly over our mutual love of holiday baked goods and I could even help test the recipes (everyone knows calories don’t count in December). It’s a win win for both parties.

So, if you know of someone who has completed a cookie advent calendar, please share. Until then, I’ll have to settle for testing recipes on my own.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups flour (I used whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • About 35 Hershey’s Kisses

Prepare

Pre-heat oven to 375 °F. Mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, beat the peanut butter and butter until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat to combine. Then add the egg and beat until completely combined. Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat until the flour has been incorporated and the dough forms.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on baking sheet. Use your fingers or the back of spoon and lightly push down on each ball to flatten just a little bit and to form a small indentation for the Hershey’s Kiss.

Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven. Quickly place an unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss in the middle of each cookie and place back in the oven. Bake for 2 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before enjoying.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This is one of my favorite fall dishes. I start looking forward to making this soup as soon as the summer ends and temperatures start to dip. It’s rich, warming, and perfect for the fall. Last year I served it at Thanksgiving dinner as the first course and it was a hit.

One of the reasons this soup is so flavorful is because the butternut squash is tossed with a spice mixture before roasting. And these spices are toasted and freshly ground for each batch of soup, which intensifies the flavor even more.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

Spice Mixture
¼ cup fennel seeds
2 Tbs coriander seeds
2 Tbs peppercorns
2 tsp pepper flakes
2 Tbs salt
2 Tbs cinnamon

Roasted Squash
1 large butternut squash
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs Spice Mixture
½ cup chicken stock
Salt & pepper

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup onion, diced
½ cup celery, diced
½ cup carrot, diced
1 cinnamon stick
Salt and pepper
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 ½ cups roasted squash, pureed

Prepare

Spice Mixture

Toasted Spices

In a small pan, toast the fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns over medium heat. Keep a close eye and stir constantly to ensure the spices do not burn. Once the fennel seeds start to turn brown, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Put mixture in a blender or a clean coffee grinder. Add the chili flakes and process until all spices are evenly ground. Place ground mixture in a bowl and add salt and cinnamon. Mix to combine. Store or freeze in tightly closed container. This spice mixture can be used in many things. I have added to acorn squash and sweet potatoes before roasting. I think it would be great on any root vegetable.

Roasted Squash
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel the squash and cut into a 1-inch dice. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the squash with the olive oil and then add the Spice Mixture, ensuring the squash is evenly covered with the spices. Place in oven and roast for about 45 to 1 hour, or until the squash is very tender. Allow squash to cool slightly so you can safely work with it.

Add slightly cooled squash to a blender or food processor and process. Carefully add chicken stock as needed here. The squash should be a thick puree, do not over process or use too much chicken stock.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot and cinnamon stick and sauté for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the stock, bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Then add the pureed butternut squash and stir until smooth. Allow to cook on low heat for about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and remove the cinnamon stick. Use a blender or a hand held blender to puree the soup. Place soup back on low heat to reheat. If desired, finish with heavy cream for an even creamier, silkier soup.

Serve in bowls with some mascarpone cheese, a sprig of sage, or pepitas.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.

10 Thanksgiving Desserts to Give Pumpkin Pie a Run For Its Money

Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkin pie. A warmed slice with a little homemade whipped creamed or a scoop of vanilla ice cream is simply heavenly. And many a Thanksgiving I’ve enjoyed more than one slice with no regrets.

But there are so many other decadent, seasonal desserts that could help add the perfect finishing touch to Thanksgiving dinner. I’m not suggesting abandoning tradition and forgoing the pumpkin pie altogether (that’s just crazy talk), but I think I may be able to find a little space at the Thanksgiving table for one more dessert.  After all, this meal calls for a little indulgence, right?

Here are a few of my favorite dessert options for Thanksgiving, or any cozy, winter meal for that matter.

 Frozen Pumpkin Mousse with Walnut-Toffee Crunch by Bon Appétit

Credit: Bon Appétit

Credit: Bon Appétit

Sweet Potato Cake by Saveur

Credit: Saveur

Credit: Saveur

Butternut Squash Glazed Tart by Food & Wine

Credit: Food & Wine

Credit: Food & Wine

Salted Caramel Apple-Pear Tart by Fine Cooking

Credit:

Credit: Fine Cooking


Sweet Potato Souffle
by Martha Stewart

Sweet Potato Souffle

Credit: Martha Stewart

Pecan Fig Bourbon Cake by Gourmet

Fig Bourbon Cake

Credit: Gourmet

Cranberry Shortbread by Bon Appétit

Cranberry Shortbread

Credit: Bon Appétit

Bourbon-Pecan Pie by Food & Wine

Credit: Food & Wine

Credit: Food & Wine

Persimmon Cake with Crème Fraîche and Maple Pecans by Fine Cooking

Credit: Fine Cooking

Credit: Fine Cooking

Pumpkin Pecan Gingersnap Ice Cream by Saveur

Credit: Saveur

Credit: Saveur