This Russian cabbage borscht is another winter warm-up secret weapon. Not to be confused with borscht made with beets or various meats and winter vegetables; while that is good, this soup is pure Jewish comfort food. Just a handful of simple ingredients, mainly cabbage.
When I was a kid, momala made a cabbage borsht flavored with short ribs or brisket. Once the meat finished cooking, she would shred and add it back into the soup. After pouting, I would pick out all the meat and leave the cabbage. Then I would complain. A lot. (Cabbage: not a favorite.) My childhood best friend loved the soup, so much so that momala would joke that she was the rightful daughter, not me. Today, I would never dream of doing that. Cabbage is actually my favorite part.
However, this version is different from my mom's soup, but an homage all the same. Kept her addition of golden raisins for the sweetness, but I made this version more brothy and added caraway seeds, V8 juice and cayenne for a little kick. Also, everything is finely chopped or minced rather than chunky. Always have to mention, the BF absolutely loves this soup. [Ed. note: Can confirm.]
You can even make this vegan by using vegetable instead of chicken broth.
Healthy, flavorful, delicious, inexpensive and it freezes very well. Makes a delightful lunch or perfect dinner paired with Russian rye or black bread. [Ed. note: HOW ABOUT VODKA OKAY JUST KIDDING]
What's not to love? Momala would be proud!
Number of Servings: 10-12 cups
Did you learn to cook anything new last year? Among many discoveries, I found that roasted radishes are a revelation. A delicious and fantastic complement to carrots, can't believe I have never tried them roasted before. [Ed. note: Calling the proper authorities, this has to be a violation of some kind.]
If you're not a fan of lentils, make the roasted carrots and radishes with tahini sauce. You won't be sorry. It makes a wonderful lunch, side or main course.
NOTE: I'm relying more and more on Trader Joe's pre-steamed lentils, usually located with the fresh produce. It's such a time saver and the lentils are firm, yet tender, which is exactly what you want. If you want to make lentils from scratch, I have included instructions below.
PS: Last year we got a little tipsy on this citrus champagne bundt cake (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/citrus-champagne-bundt-cake) and recovered nicely thanks to this ginger turmeric detox broth (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/ginger-turmeric-detox-broth).
Adapted from: A Beautiful Plate
Number of servings: approximately 4
"The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written."
"The beginning is the most important part of the work."
"Boy, this year sure was a long decade."
Happy New Year!
Here's a deliciously bright carrot soup made with ginger, coconut milk, fresh orange juice and infused with warming spices. Simple as can be, plus-bonus-it's vegan and gluten free. It's even BF approved, so you know it's good. [Ed. note: Can confirm. Also, my primary-care physician called. He said, "More vegetables."]
The BF and I hope you're enjoying a wonderful holiday, and that this soup warms up any cold, wintry days.
Adapted from: Feasting at Home
Number of Servings: 8 cups
'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 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)
My father hailed from Vienna, and momala's parents were also from Austria. Oktoberfest fare? Only on days ending in "y."
Growing up, we had everything from Wiener Schnitzel (veal) and Wiener Schnitzel vom Schwein (pork), to hasenpfeffer (rabbit), liptauer, palatschinke (crepes with jelly), sauerkraut, sweet-and-sour purple cabbage, Austrian potato salad, cabbage borscht, stuffed cabbage rolls, sauteed cabbage with caraway and lots of heavy duty Russian rye bread (with caraway seeds).
Extended family and friends raved about momala's sautéed green cabbage and sweet-and-sour purple cabbage. Me? Wouldn't know, because as a kid I literally hated all things cabbage-y, and wouldn't get near it, let alone eat it. Now I appreciate cabbage much more, and over the years have tried various ways to prepare, and this is how the BF and I like it. I think momala would be happy. [Ed. note: She would.]
The BF and I happen to love the flavor of caraway, but if you don't, just leave it out.
We added bratwurst to this super-quick supper, but any sausage will do. The BF and I have found a local brand that we love, Dibrov. A favorite is the Oktoberfest Bratwurst (not a sponsored post, we just love it). We paired this cabbage side with sausages, mustard, pickled cukes and onions, and German soft pretzel sticks. We also imbibed some delicious Marionberry Hard Cider that a few good Oregon friends left us this summer, and a German lager that complimented the Oktoberfest meal perfectly. [Ed. note: Am tempted to search for the Bob and Doug McKenzie movie Strange Brew.]
Even if you're not all about Oktoberfest, this cabbage side works any time of year, and goes especially well with pork chops or loin, brisket, chicken schnitzel, etc. Anything!
PS: Things got pretty spicy a year ago with this jalapeño, serrano and fresno pepper roast chicken (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/jalapeno-serrano-fresno-pepper-roast-chicken).
Number of servings: 4
We're getting deeper and deeper into October (don't know about you, but did this past week feel like a month or what?), which doesn't just bring us closer to my favorite holiday, Halloween, but all the signs are pointing to another very busy Thanksgiving-to-Christmas season. Meaning, with all of the impending insanity, it's always a good idea to have a few "make-ahead meals" on hand to save time on the off nights. Off nights that are better spent curled up with the BF watching a favorite show like Better Call Saul, or the World Series where his team the San Francisc—oh. Sorry. [Ed. note: Twist the knife, why don't you.]
This Moroccan stew is delicous the night it's made, and reheats well for lunches or make-ahead dinners, without losing any of its vibrant cumin, cinnamon and saffron flavors. Colorful and brothy, light and healthy, it's filling without being heavy.
It's also vegetarian, but can easily be made vegan by replacing butter with olive oil and skipping the yogurt (see note).
Changes made to the original Smitten Kitchen recipe: substituted yams for the plain potatoes (I recommend the dark red Garnet yam variety), and left out the preserved lemon.
The BF loves it over couscous, but I love it on its own. My dinner guests love all the toppings. A supremely versatile dish you can whip out while you prepare for the costumed kids soon to run amok. Amok! Amok! Amok!
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Number of servings: 6-8
NOTE: To veganize this, replace the butter with additional olive oil, use vegetable broth and skip the yogurt.
PS: Sweet tooth? Did you miss a year ago when I whipped out the caramel apple cheesecake that destroyed the BF? [Ed. note: And no, she's not kidding.] (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/caramel-apple-cheesecake)
PPS: Amok! Amok! Amok!
"Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin."
It's here. October. My favorite month of the year. The month where the BF hangs on for dear life, as I vortex all things pumpkin. [Ed. note: I'm worried about you, man. Seriously.] Pumpkin items I adore: bread, muffins, donuts, cakes, cookies, popovers (coming soon to the blog), ice cream, mousse, cheesecake, soups, curries, pancakes, french toast, scones, cinnamon rolls, trifle and candles. Lots and lots of candles.
Most unnecessary pumpkin-spice products that I've seen? Pringles, vodka, body lotion, kale chips, salsa, salmon and bagels (the BF had a bite and requested that I never, ever, pinkie-swear-on-penalty-of-death buy that again). [Ed. note: Can confirm.]
Side note: The Huffington Post "reports that their taste testers were struck with a variety of reactions to Pringles’ new line of potato chips, ranging from 'surprisingly not revolted' to a 'horrible abomination to humanity.'"
October is also the month to make a mean pumpkin lasagna, crispy pumpkin and sage cannelloni (coming to the blog close to Thanksgiving) and pumpkin gnocchi. Seriously, I feel like there are not enough days in October for everything I want to make with pumpkin. [Ed. note: So this is why you were pining for them in February.]
This pumpkin bread is moist, tender and plush on the inside, with a sumptuous cinnamon-sugar craggy lid. One of my biggest pet peeves when baking pumpkin bread are the recipes that use 1 cup of pumpkin puree out of a can that holds 1 ¾ cup. That leftover puree drives me bat-shit crazy. [Ed. note: Can confirm.] Fear not, this recipe utilizes every last drop of that canned pumpkin and it only takes one bowl to make.
Very key here is the size of your loaf pan, as this will fill out every inch of it. Mine holds 6 liquid cups; it’s 8 × 4 inches on the bottom and 9 × 5 inches on the top. If yours is even slightly smaller or you’re nervous, go ahead and scoop out a little to make a muffin or two.
Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen says, "Finally, I know someone is going to say 'that’s way too much sugar!' but please keep in mind this loaf is gigantic, easily 1.5x a normal one and the sugar is scaled accordingly. You can decrease it if you wish but we have made this now several times and many people have commented about how in-check the sugar level tastes, not over the top at all."
PS: Can't forget last year's pumpkin challah (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/pumpkin-challah), and mini pumpkin whoopie pies with apple cider filling (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mini-pumpkin-whoopie-pies-with-apple-cider-cream-cheese-filling), which were client and reader favorites.
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Number of servings: 8-10
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.