Just because Mardi Gras may have passed, doesn't mean it's not too late to serve this light, brothy, hearty and incredibly flavorful gumbo. (In our household, Mardi Gras-month is always a time for celebrating everything New Orleans.) Adapted from a recipe the great Emeril Lagasse published in a dog-eared copy of the September, 1994 issue of Bon Appetit.
New Orleans is, hands down, an all-time favorite city for me and the BF. Incredible food, history, architecture and music [Ed. note: Tipitina's, represent!] everywhere you step. We never, ever tire of that city, and are lucky to have visited at all different times of the year. We also can't leave until we've had a bowl of gumbo...somewhere. A few of my favorite places to enjoy the staple are Dooky Chase Restaurant, Galatoire's and Nola's.
Come to think of it, it's been many years since the BF and I have been. Perhaps we need to head back soon? [Ed. note: Do not tease!]
A small sampling of my vast voodoo doll collection.
Until next year, Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Adapted from: Bon Appetit, September 1994
Number of servings: 8
PS: A year ago chocolate and peanut butter squared off and clashed in a titanic battle for the ages (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/chocolate-peanut-butter-tart), then there was an attempt to make up for that dessert bomb with some roasted shrimp and asparagus with shallot lemon vinaigrette (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/shrimp-asparagus-with-shallot-lemon-vinaigrette).
PPS: "Iko Iko" is one of my favorite songs, takes me right back to New Orleans.
Pasta. Parmesan cheese. Cream. Prosciutto. Four ingredients. [Ed. note: Can't get The Count from Sesame Street out of my head, "One, two, three, four ingredients heh heh heh."]
Make it vegetarian by omitting the prosciutto. Three ingredients. You're welcome.
An indulgent winter meal that reheats very well, I make it once a year for the BF and he goes clinically insane over it. [Ed. note: Do I need to concur? Folks, she doesn't lie.]
Adapted from: Gourmet, December 2006
Number of servings: 6 (main course) or 8 (side dish)
PS: A year ago we stepped it up to four ingredients to satisfy the sweet tooth with this sumptuous café au lait pudding adapted from Ashley Rodriguez's Date Night In (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/cafe-au-lait-pudding).
'Tis the season for good food and great company. My wonderful cousin and younger sister, traveling from Oregon, paid the BF and I a visit, and we showed them a few of our favorite local spots. Even though I had to work for clients while they were here, we managed to squeeze in much fun.
One day, we visited the Cantor Museum and Rodin Exhibit on the Stanford University campus. On another, we walked up and down Palo Alto's University Avenue and had dinner at a delicious Menlo Park Turkish restaurant.
The last day, we took our choco-lab Marlowe and walked around Bol Park, aka "Donkey Park" (Perry was the model for "Donkey," voiced by Eddie Murphy, in the film Shrek), and ate lunch at Thai Bistro on California Avenue. In the evening we made gingerbread cake topped with eggnog whipped cream along with spiralized celeriac latkes [Ed. note: I don't think we ate it in that order?], and watched a superb documentary called Shanghai Ghetto.
When they left, while cousin and sister went up the long escalator at a local Bart station, Marlowe let out the most woeful cries as they slowly disappeared from view. [Ed. note: We'll forward the therapy bills.]
My cousin is an expert beekeeper and gifted us with the most amazing raw honey, which we can't stop dipping into. She also gave us homemade lemongrass soap and lip balm, as well as some sinfully good Burnside Distillery small-batch bourbon, which kept everybody warm! [Ed. note: Can confirm.]
My sister is very knowledgeable and talented with rocks, stones and gems. She gave us beautiful hand-engraved stones that say "Shalom" and "DZ," which now rest proudly on the kitchen window sill that I work in front of every day. More significantly, she also gave me custody of our mom's engagement ring (we trade off every year), which was was so brilliantly polished and shiny it practically glittered. She is also adept in the landscaping arts, and got to work in the backyard well before unpacking. (She makes up for my black thumb.)
Marlowe is always a happier camper when she has a "pack," and as usual the did the nighttime "rounds," visiting the visitors as they slept.
Life is good when these girls are with us.
And it wouldn't be a family gathering without dessert, so for December: peppermint! It just says winter to me.
This cheesecake is almost too easy. No baking, no sugar, low carb and comes together in about 15 minutes. With a crust that tastes like Oreo cookies, it was the most popular dessert of the visit, even though we had plenty of other desserts with real sugar. There's only a slight change to the original recipe (upped the whipping cream from 2 tablespoons to 4), as I like a fluffier mousse-like cheesecake. Also added a pinch of salt to the crust. Should also note that I used my favorite brand of sugar substitute called Swerve, but you can use whatever you like.
Adapted from: All Day I Dream About Food
Number of servings: 16
Happy Hanukkah! One of my favorite holidays to celebrate with my BF and family. It's also latke time!
I love this method for making latkes, mainly because it's baked and not fried. You use oil, but it won't splatter all over the stove.
And yes, it's parsnips instead of potatoes. Parsnips taste nutty and sweet, so to complement that sweetness you can top the latkes with tangy creme fraiche or sour cream, hot pepper jelly and chives (as shown in the photos above and below). Smoked fish or poached eggs are also delicious as a topper. The BF and I love them with mashed avocado and a poached egg, drizzled with chimichurri sauce (bottom photo).
If you don't have a Spiralizer, don't worry, the large grate on your hand grater will work fine. The bones of the original recipe are from Inspiralized, I just changed the quantities to my liking.
Closing on a different note, my cousins in Chicago recently sent me this amazing "Bohemian Chanukah" by Six 13 (see below), and this, along with the fact the BF and I loved the film Bohemian Rhapsody [Ed. note: if Rami Malek doesn't get a best-actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury, the offending non-voters should be studied in a lab], reminded me that Queen is one of my favorite bands of all time.
How favorite? I actually "gave" a Queen documentary DVD to the BF as a Hanukkah gift, and he kindly reminded me that he'd actually received a press-review copy of the same film years ago when he was working as a music journalist. He offered it to me, and for some reason at the time I said no.
Sometimes you need to be reminded.
Reminding you that we hope you are enjoying a wonderful holiday with family and friends.
Adapted from: Inspiralized
Number of servings: makes 5-6 large latkes or 10-12 mini latkes
The Holiday season is here, with Hanukkah coming up next week and Christmas soon following. Here we're breaking out a theme most revelers get behind: gingerbread. This looks like a gigantic Hostess Ho Ho [Ed. note: DID SOMEONE SAY HOSTESS HO HO], and may initially appear imposing, but it's actually very light and fluffy, with a beautiful hint of gingerbread spice.
Now it has come to my attention from certain people [Ed. note: umm <whistling>] that some of you might want to make this more of an "adult" dessert and put a dash of bourbon or rum into the eggnog filling. Honestly, I would advise against putting more liquid into the filling; the main reason I added mascarpone cheese was to make the filling more stable. Adding more liquid could make this a bit of a messier proposition. Of course, if you want to have a drink (like a bourbon or hot toddy) with the cake, by all means do.
[Ed. note: Don't call this a "log" for cheap comedic effect don't call this a "log" for cheap comedic effect don't call this a "log"...]
Happy Holidays! More confections to come!
Adapted from: Crazy for Crust
Number of servings: 8-10
The BF and I recently had a wonderful dinner at a neighbor's house. Husband and wife (turns out she and the BF went to the same university and graduated a year apart) and their two adorable children. The wife made a special request for something sugar-free and low carb, something I always try to pull out of the proverbial hat over the holidays.
So besides the normal sugar-full monstrosity that sent the kids (and BF) spinning [Ed. note: GERPH SNORG FLEEGLE NOP], I presented a version of this pumpkin cheesecake to the wife.
"Honey, you have to try this," she gasped at her husband. Soon, everybody was taking a small forkful.
The husband and my BF, bless them, went from sumptuous satisfied grins to quizzical bewilderment. The husband cocked his head, "This is...sugar...free?" No wonder, it really did taste like a decadent cheesecake.
The BF likes to say these are "weapons." [Ed. note: As in, people, including or especially kids, will not question whether or not the dish has a particular ingredient until you tell them.] When time allows, I experiment and make us sugar-free-grain-free-low-carb desserts (or similarly constructed main dishes) and the BF will say, "It's okay, but it tastes healthy." Kiss of death. So when something gets the "weapon" seal of approval, it must be shared. The pumpkin cheesecake will definitely make an appearance on this year's Thanksgiving dessert table.
Many have even asked me to post more sugar-free, low carb desserts, so rest assured, there will be more to come.
A big reason why this cheesecake and other such desserts can now be made: sugar substitutes have come a long way in the last 30 years. Had never found one that I liked for baking, until stumbling on a product called Swerve (swervesweet.com/products), which comes in granulated, powdered-confectioners, or brown form. This is not a sponsored post, simply have made countless desserts with it and the performance screams "real thing." Will bet you can't tell the difference.
You can purchase Swerve online, or I have been lucky enough to find in my local grocery store. Am sure you could try a different brand, but I highly recommend this one and can't vouch for other brands in the final outcome of this particular dessert.
The original recipe for this mini cheesecake says it serves two, but for the aforementioned dinner it was cut into four small pieces and was a perfect ending to the meal. Made a few tweaks to the original recipe from the blog All Day I Dream About Food: upped the cream cheese filling just a bit and doubled the whipped cream topping.
For people who count their Net Carbs, half of this cheesecake is only 3 Net Carbs.
Number of servings: 2 large or 4 small
Adapted from: All Day I Dream About Food for Swerve, The Ultimate Sugar Replacement
Well we survived midterms [Ed. note: Anyone get the license plate of that truck that hit us?] and now, more importantly, it's two weeks until Thanksgiving!
It is never too soon to plan the meal. Right now I have a rough menu outline, but so far the only certainty is that this soup will start the evening off, either in a bowl or as soup shooters (shot glass).
Have made a bazillion different kinds of butternut squash soup over the years, but this is "The One." Velvety, flavorful, filling, but not heavy. You'll swear there's cream in there. There isn't. You can even make this dairy-free/vegan by omitting the butter and substituting olive oil. Full disclosure, I tend to tinker with recipes to tailor it to my or the BF's taste, but this recipe, didn't change a thing [Ed. note: wut].
The soup works well on its own, but if you want to kick the flavor up a notch I suggest adding the red curry croutons. (Butternut squash and red curry are a match made in heaven.) Another handy tip, I find the hand-immersion blender very convenient, but if you want a truly smooth, velvet consistency, break out the big guns, your "serious" blender, and mix like you mean it.
PS: Don't want to give away any secrets, but someone's birthday is coming up [Ed. note: wut]. Last year I didn't mess around and broke out Batman and the Joker for a positively killer caramel apple cake (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/caramel-apple-cake).
PPS: Marlowe is very happy if you voted!
Adapted from: Corky, Lori, Dana and Tracy Pollan, The Pollan Family Table (soup) and Woks of Life (croutons)
Number of servings: makes about 2 quarts (4-6)
[Ed. note: We have a special-guest blogger today.]
My name Marlowe. I chocolate labrador. I five years old. Mom and Dad say I "rescue" lab, but I not know what that mean. All I know is they love me, feed me, bathe me, pick up my poop, and give me scratches and belly rubs.
Mom say she try make mini-caramel apples but always fail. Say caramel not stick to wet apple flesh. It slide off and look bad. Dad mean and no give me caramel, say cause blockage and if I has blockage I go doctor. Me no like go doctor.
Mom say she has great idea use butterscotch chips instead of caramel. Say dessert is easy to make, good for Halloween, and for sure will use for Thanksgiving. Also say kids like because treats are super-mini-small and can eat in one bite.
Mom prefer apples at room temperature [Ed. note: ROOM TEMPERATURE] since butterscotch soft, but Dad like apples cold because he weird. Also say apples stay fresh for several days, keep well in fridge or on counter. I no allowed to counter surf any more because I eat all food on counter and everybody has a mad.
Anyway me thank you for reading this especially since I no have thumbs and is difficult to type.
As final, I dressing up for Halloween. I go as UPS driver. Mom and Dad say to wish you a very Happy Halloween.
Adapted from: I Am Baker (blog)
Number of servings: Makes approximately 20-24 mini apples
Tonight at sundown begins Yom Kippur. For 25 hours we will fast. [Ed. note: A WHOLE DAY AND AN HOUR DEATH WHERE IS THY STING?] This “Day of Atonement” (English translation) isn't Hanukkah, but it's the holiest day of the year, and a day to begin the new year with a fresh start.
When I was young, my mamala used to make her famous roast chicken before the fast and another one to break fast. We lived in a small town about 200 miles (round trip) from the nearest synagogue in Portland, Oregon. By the time services were over, and it was past sundown, we made it home around 8:00pm and started roasting a chicken we didn't actually eat until 10:00pm. It was a long day and we were all pretty hangry [Ed. note: A technical term.] by that point!
Although hardly traditional Jewish fare, this Mexican-marinated roast chicken is the perfect way to start the fast and it will be an easy and equally delicious meal to break fast. Best of all, I prepared everything ahead of time, so I didn't have to start the process after work.
A word about the marinade: you're probably thinking mayonnaise is an odd choice, but it's not. It works. The Best of Fine Cooking explains, "Mayonnaise is the perfect base for marinade as it takes the place of oil and keeps the marinade ingredients suspended. The lime juice cuts through the richness of the smoky chipotle and the beer adds depth of flavor."
The spice level is relatively mild, for my taste. If you like a bit more kick, like the BF and I do, add an additional ¼ - ⅓ cup of purée to the mayo.
Serve this chicken with anything! We made burrito bowls, but it's perfect served in a tortilla as a burrito or taco. Our side dishes included saffron rice, black beans, pickled red onions, avocados and a delectable cilantro vinaigrette that was so good, it will have its own blog entry very soon.
To all of my tribe, wishing you a meaningful Yom Kippur and an easy fast.
Adapted from: The Best of Fine Cooking, Mexican, 2018
Number of servings: 4-6
NOTE: You can make the marinade ahead of time. Tightly covered, the marinade (with mayo) will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days.
So. We missed a week. Let me explain.
If there is one thing that can throw a serious monkey wrench into a personal-chef business, it's a broken refrigerator. Three weeks of no working fridge in the house, so to the rescue come three friends and their three fridges. (You know who you are and I love you dearly.) The BF and I are driving all over town to these different locations, then out to fulfill all the client orders. Extra time, extra hassle, and then of course problems with new-fridge delivery and oy...
Then, a bonus: jury duty. [Ed. note: #@%$#^&*] I was called to attend, but luckily was dismissed on the second day. A side note: in 1993 I served for four weeks during procedures that were deciding whether or not a serial killer was competent enough to stand trial. We determined that he was.
So, with all apologies, am late in getting into the Rosh Hashanah spirit. Even though it started on Sunday and ends today, Tuesday, it's not too late to make this lovely apple cake. This will work throughout the rest of fall and winter, and really, the last three weeks have had a "better late than never" kind of mantra.
Many years ago I made this for my Momala, and it was an instant favorite (and she is a woman who knows her coffee cakes). The BF enjoyed it for his birthday last year, and of course it was brought out again for this Rosh Hashanah. It doesn't skimp on the apples, the entire house smells like apples, cinnamon, and fall.
The BF and I want to wish all our Jewish family and friends a healthy and happy Shana Tova!
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Number of servings: 12-16
For the apples
DO AHEAD: This cake is awesome on the first day but absolutely glorious and pudding-like on the days that follow, so feel free to get an early start on it. I keep it at room temperature covered with foil.
* NOTE: The apples love to hide uncooked pockets of batter, especially near the top. Make sure your testing skewer or toothpick goes not just all the way down to the bottom, but does a shallow dip below the top layer of apples, and make sure it comes out batter-free. Should your cake be browning too fast, before the center is baked through, cover it with foil for all but the last few minutes, while in the oven.
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the bay area. Living life with my wildly funny boyfriend and dog Marlowe. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.