Category Archives: Holiday

Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}

Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}Hello! I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. I’m still in D.C., but am looking forward to getting back to NYC to put my Christmas tree up and really get into the swing of holiday baking—look out for my first Christmas cookies of the season next Wednesday!Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}Today’s recipe is hardly a recipe at all. When I was visiting my friend, Tad, in San Francisco last month, we stopped for an ice cream cone at The Castro Fountain. While I was waiting for my order, I spotted a sign for Hot Butterscotch. I initially assumed they meant the sauce, but on further inspection, I saw it was a beverage akin to Hot Chocolate. But, you know, with butterscotch. I decided then and there that I would figure out a Hot Butterscotch recipe by Thanksgiving, and lo and behold, here it is. Rocket science, this is not, but those Castro Fountain guys are on to something!Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}Simply whisk a cup of butterscotch and some vanilla into a quart of whole milk. Heat that to a simmer, divide it among a few mugs, and top ‘em off with whipped cream, marshmallows and a drizzle of butterscotch. That’s it!Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}Hot Butterscotch is creamy and comforting with plenty of buttery brown sugar and vanilla flavor. I like it as written, but if you want something a little more decadent, feel free to swap half & half or heavy cream for some of the milk.Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}No matter how you mix it up, this is the perfect low-maintenance treat to make this Thanksgiving weekend. You could even give jars of homemade butterscotch as food gifts and attach a label with the recipe. But then again, I may be getting ahead of myself.

Have a great weekend, y’all!Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}

Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}
makes 4-6 servings

1 cup prepared butterscotch sauce
1 quart whole milk (or a mix of whole milk and half & half or heavy cream)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For serving:
whipped cream
miniature marshmallows
butterscotch sauce, for drizzling

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine butterscotch, whole milk, and vanilla. Set over medium heat. Continue to whisk near-constantly (to prevent scorching) until mixture is steaming and bubbles are forming at the edges. Do not boil. Remove from heat.

Ladle mixture into mugs. Top with whipped cream, miniature marshmallows, and/or a drizzle of butterscotch sauce, if desired. Serve immediately.Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}

Baked Feta with Sautéed Dates

Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesI’ve been making Thanksgiving food since mid-October, and while that’s my idea of a good time, it’s a bit of a relief that I’m not going to be anywhere near an oven on Thursday. My family traditionally travels and makes reservations for this particular holiday, so all I have to do is pack that skirt I marked as my “Thanksgiving outfit” back in September, get on a bus to D.C., and leave the cooking to a bunch of chefs.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesWe’ve been doing this routine in different cities since 1997, so it’s second nature now. In fact, the only issue I have with my family’s Thanksgiving tradition is that I’ll have to wait til Christmas to make them this Baked Feta with Sautéed Dates.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesPoor them—they don’t know what they’re missing. I do, though, and so I am here to tell you that you absolutely, unequivocally should make this three days from now.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesI know. I know! The menu’s set. You’ve made the list. But just go ahead and add a brick of feta and some dates to the tail end. I promise it’s worth the change in plans.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesYou’ll only need five ingredients (plus something carby for serving) and fifteen minutes to put this appetizer together, and I would be utterly shocked if it lasts more than another fifteen minutes. I was alone when I made the feta and dates pictured here, and I had trouble keeping myself from eating half the brick in one go.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesBaked Feta with Sautéed DatesBaked Feta with Sautéed DatesThe feta is baked for ten minutes and broiled for a couple more. It turns soft and salty with crispy edges and corners that slump in the most pleasing way. It’s brushed with olive oil all over and honey on top before going into the oven, so it gets brown and blistered and…seriously, good luck not hoarding this all to yourself.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesIt won’t melt—feta doesn’t do that—but it will soften to the point where you can practically slice it with the edge of a cracker. Frankly, you could serve the feta by its lonesome and it’d disappear in minutes, but then you’d be denying yourself the magic of Sautéed Dates, and that’d be a real shame.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesBaked Feta with Sautéed DatesI mean, if there’s anything in the world that can stand up to the wonder that is Baked Feta, it’s these dates. They’re sautéed in olive oil for a minute or two while the cheese is in the oven, just until the edges begin to caramelize. The results are mostly sweet and a little savory—they’re great with yogurt, labneh and hummus. Here, they’re spooned over the warm feta and sprinkled with finishing salt before being scooped up with crackers or baguette or whatever and shoveled into your mouth as quickly as possible because—oh my goodness—this stuff is delicious.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesSalty, sweet, cheesy, savory, fruity, eyes-rolling-back-in-your-head good. You’re not going to want to share, but you should because…manners, I guess? But go ahead and plan to make this for every party between now and January 2nd, because if you can’t eat a brick of cheese during the holidays, when can you?!Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesHappy Thanksgiving, dear readers!Baked Feta with Sautéed Dates

Baked Feta with Sautéed Dates
dates adapted from Renee Erickson
makes about 8-10 servings

Baked Feta:
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 8-ounce brick feta cheese, blotted with paper towels
1 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup)

Sautéed Dates:
1 tablespoon olive oil
10-12 medjool dates, pits removed, sliced in half
coarse or flaky salt, for garnish

For serving:
water crackers
pita or pita chips
sliced baguette

Preheat oven to 400F.

Bake the feta. Use a pastry brush to apply 2 teaspoons olive oil to an 8-inch broiler-safe dish. Place gets brick in the center. Brush exposed feta with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Brush the top of the feta with a teaspoon of honey. Bake feta for 10 minutes or until soft and slumping. Feta will not melt.

Preheat broiler. Broil feta for 2-4 minutes, until the top is blistered.

Meanwhile, sauté dates. Heat 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add halved dates and cook, flipping once or twice, until they have all been coated in a thin layer of oil and some are beginning to caramelize (about 2 minutes). Do not burn.

Spoon sautéed dates over baked feta. Sprinkle with coarse or flaky salt. Serve warm with crackers or bread of choice.

Baked feta will firm up as it cools. To rewarm, place in a 350-400F oven for 5 minutes or until soft again.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesBaked Feta with Sautéed DatesBaked Feta with Sautéed Dates

Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust

Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Here we are, six days from Thanksgiving. Six days!Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}I’ll have one more holiday recipe for you on Monday—a really simple one—but first, pie. More specifically, Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Just imagine a layer of vanilla-scented buttermilk custard soft enough to squidge (technical term) against your teeth, and a crisp, lightly-spiced crust reminiscent of an old-fashioned oatmeal cookie. That’s what you get with this recipe.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Oh, and it’s easy. The filling comes together with a whisk and a mixing bowl. It’s incredibly simple, and the results are old-fashioned and delicious.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}As for the crust, well, let’s just say I’m in love. It’s a little thicker than your average pastry crust, but it’s also like a big cookie—a big cookie filled with buttermilk custard!Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}This oatmeal crust comes together in a food processor before being pressed into a greased pie plate. No need for chilling, rolling or crimping. Easy easy easy.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}And did I mention that both components just happen to be gluten-free? Yesssss. I love inclusive recipes—that goes double at the holidays.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}

Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}
makes one 9-inch pie

Oatmeal Crust:
3 cups old-fashioned oats* (use certified gluten-free for gluten-free crust)
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter,* cut into pieces
4 tablespoons water

Buttermilk Pie Filling:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk (preferably whole)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For serving (optional):
whipped cream

Place an oven rack in the lowest position, leaving a lot of headroom above. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a pie plate.

Make the crust. Scatter oats in an even layer on a rimmed sheet pan. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool a few minutes.

Add oats to the bowl of a food processor, along with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and butter. Process to combine. Add water and process again until clumps form.

Press mixture in an even layer on the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie plate. Place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 10 minutes.

Make the pie filling. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs for 2 minutes, or until very thick and foamy. Gradually whisk in sugar mixture, followed by melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla. Mixture will be thin. Pour into crust.

Carefully move the pie (still on the baking sheet) to the oven. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350F and bake for another 35-45 minutes, or until the top is light golden, the edges are puffed, and the center is still a little jiggly (not soupy). Tent with foil if it is darkening too quickly. Turn off oven and crack the door open. Let the pie sit in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove pie to a rack to cool completely. Chill for at least 2-3 hours before serving.

Buttermilk Pie is best served cold. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

Leftover pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes:

    You may use an equal volume of coconut oil.
    To make this in a regular pie crust, follow the crust-baking (partial blind-baking) instructions here.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}

Creamed Kale with Crispy Breadcrumbs

Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsYou may not be able to tell from the bevy of desserts I post every week, but I am a huge proponent of eating your greens. Almost every meal I make for myself involves a huge bed of arugula. Yes, for real.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsThat said, on Thanksgiving, there are so many sides that leafy greens can get lost in the mix or left out entirely. To that, I counter this: Creamed Kale with Crispy Breadcrumbs. It’s the sort of “eat your greens” situation that is absolutely welcome sidled up to cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, and Fluffy Dinner Rolls.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsThis is a vegetable side dish that stretches the meaning of the word “vegetable.” Yes, there is kale in there—a lot of it—but it’s coated in a sauce of butter, heavy cream, milk, cream cheese and parmesan, and topped with buttery breadcrumbs. Dietetic, this is not. On Thanksgiving, though, who cares? If there were ever a day for eating a creamy, cheesy, crispy-topped side and calling it a serving of vegetables, this is the one.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsIf you’re wondering why I used kale here instead of going for classic creamed spinach, the answer is simple: kale’s texture holds up. Even after the blanching, shocking, sautéing, saucing, and baking, it still has texture. It contrasts perfectly with the crispy breadcrumbs instead of getting lost in the cheesy sauce. And it’s pretty. And I just *like* kale.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsNow, I know that adding one more thing to your Thanksgiving menu is never something to be taken lightly. Time and energy are at a premium at the holidays! Luckily, Creamed Kale with Crispy Breadcrumbs is perfect for making ahead. You can stir together the creamed kale part of the equation a day or two ahead of time and refrigerate it. When you’re ready to serve, top it off with the breadcrumb mixture and bake until brown, bubbly, and so creamy and wonderful that even I—a person who has written repeatedly about loathing cream sauce—can’t resist.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsLooking for something a little lighter? Try my Caramelized Brussels Sprouts!

Creamed Kale with Crispy Breadcrumbs
makes 6-8 servings

Creamed Kale:
2 lbs lacinato kale (curly kale works too)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 ounces full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

Breadcrumb Topping:
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (or other plain breadcrumbs)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup (~1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400F. Bring a large (6 quart) pot of water to a boil over high heat.

Wash and dry kale. Remove and discard the ribs. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice kale into 1/2-inch ribbons.

Fill a large bowl with ice water.

When the pot of water comes to a boil, salt it liberally. Add kale and let cook about 1 minute (until bright green). Remove kale and plunge it directly into the ice water. This method is called blanching & shocking.

Line a sheet pan (or a few plates) with paper towels. Once kale is cool (a few minutes), remove it from the water and place on paper towel-lined pan. Blot with more paper towels to remove excess water.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot (I used the same one I used for the kale) over medium heat. Add butter and allow to melt. Sauté onion 5-7 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in kale, followed by nutmeg, salt & pepper. Stir in heavy cream, milk, and cream cheese. Turn heat up to medium-high and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, or until cream cheese has melted and sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Grease an 8-inch casserole dish. Fill with creamed kale.

Make breadcrumbs. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and melted butter. Add Parmesan. Scatter mixture over the top of the kale. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until brown and bubbly.

Serve warm. This is best the day it is made, but may be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to three days. Breadcrumbs will soften over time, but may be re-crisped in the oven.

To make ahead: after transferring creamed kale to a casserole dish, press plastic wrap to the surface and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to bake, make breadcrumb mixture and scatter it over the top. Bake at 400F until bubbly and golden, about 30 minutes.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy Breadcrumbs

Apple Pie

Apple PieI’ve somehow blogged my way through five Thanksgivings without ever posting an apple pie. There was one Cranberry Apple Pie that got a little toasty on top, a couple of apple cakes, some shortbread bars and even Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls, but a mile-high, nicely spiced Apple Pie has never made it into my Thanksgiving Recipe line-up until right now. I think it was worth the wait.Apple PieI kind of feel like I should preface this recipe by saying that I know there are a million and a half apple pie recipes and that this is nothing revolutionary, but

  1. screw that.
  2. when is homemade apple pie anything other than revolutionary?Apple Pie

I mean, look at this golden, lattice-domed thing! It’s stuffed to the gills—there are 4.5 pounds of apples in there! They’re a mix of Granny Smith, Gala and Honeycrisp, so there are a variety of flavors and textures, but they are all delicious baked between two layers of All-Butter Pie Dough.Apple PieApple PieIn terms of flavoring, there’s all sorts of good stuff in here. The apples are tossed in a mixture of granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar before being left to macerate (sit and release liquid) for an hour. After that, a mixture of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves is stirred in, along with some cornstarch for thickening and salt for balance. Mmhmm.Apple PieApple PieThe filling—accumulated liquid and all—is piled high into a pie crust before being topped with another crust. I went for a classic lattice and a couple of braids here, but feel free to do a whole top crust (make sure to cut some vents!) or whatever makes you happy. Then brush that thing with egg wash, sprinkle it with coarse sugar and bake the crap out of it.Apple PieApple PieWhen you read through this recipe, you’ll notice that there are a lot of pauses and chills and that this pie bakes for more than an hour. Pie takes time, y’all. There’s no way around it. If I wrote a chill in there, it’s because I think it’s important. I don’t want to put anymore time between you (or me!) and that first slice than absolutely necessary.Apple PieAs for baking, this pie is a bit of a diva, but aren’t they all?! In apple pie’s case, you’ll need to preheat a rimmed baking sheet when you heat the oven. This serves two purposes: protecting your oven floor from overflow and helping ensure that the bottom crust doesn’t wind up completely raw. Also, this pie starts baking at 400F for fifteen minutes and finishes at 375F for 50-60 more. It’s a long time, but this is a big pie! Try to be patient, and don’t forget to tent with foil as necessary. You want that golden top!Apple PieApple PieI promise all this work will be worth it when you slice this thing up. Homemade apple pie always is.Apple Pie

Apple Pie
makes one 9-inch pie

Filling:
10 medium baking apples or about 4.5 lbs (I used a mix of Granny Smith, Gala and Honeycrisp)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Pie Crust:
1 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough or other good double crust recipe, divided

Egg Wash & Garnish:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
coarse sugar

Prepare the apples. Peel and core apples and slice in 1/8-inch slices. Place pieces in a large mixing bowl and toss with vinegar, sugar, and brown sugar. Let sit 1 hour at room temperature, tossing occasionally, so they can release some liquid.

Prepare the bottom crust. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll one disk of pie dough out to a 14-inch diameter. Fit it in a pie plate, trim any overhang to 1-inch. Crimp as desired. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Prepare the top crust. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll one disk of pie dough out to a 14-inch diameter. Slice in strips or carefully fold in quarters (depending what kind of top crust you’d like), wrap loosely in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until needed.

Once the apples’ time has elapsed, add cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt, and toss to combine. Transfer filling (including all accumulated liquid) to prepared bottom crust. Use refrigerated prepared top crust to either create a lattice or cover completely and cut a few vents. Freeze for 20 minutes.

Place an oven rack in the lowest position. Place a rimmed baking sheet on that rack. Preheat oven to 400F.

Make the egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork. Use a pastry brush mixture over all exposed crust. Sprinkle coarse sugar over the top.

Bake the pie. Place pie on hot baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F and bake another 50-60 minutes until crust is golden and fruit is cooked but not mushy. Loosely tend with foil at the 30 minute mark, or if anything begins to brown too quickly.

Use rimmed baking sheet to remove pie from the oven. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool for a minimum of 4 hours before slicing and serving.

Pie will keep covered at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.Apple PieApple PieApple Pie