Maple Dijon Sloppy Joes

sloppy joes
I love that it has become trendy for even the most upscale restaurants to offer mac and cheese on the menu. And I love that we have more ‘gourmet’ burger joints in our town than we do gas stations. And I extra love that the gastro-pub we dropped into yesterday for lunch had ‘Grandma’s Green Bean Casserole’ as a special. I am thrilled that all of the delicious, nostalgic, homey foods from my childhood are being reinvented, and enjoyed all over again.

Chefs seem to have tackled and upgraded everything from tater tots to oatmeal cookies. But you know what has been totally overlooked in this comfort food overhaul? Sloppy Joes.

Is there any dish that screams ‘Kid Food’ more than the humble Sloppy Joe? I’ll admit that not all sloppy joe memories are happy ones. The soggy school-lunch sloppy joes were fodder for elementary school nightmares. But sloppy joes CAN be delicious. I recall a fantastic summer camp sloppy joe served on a perfectly crusty pretzel bun. And another, spicier version that a neighbor’s mom made with leftover chili. The thing about sloppy joes is that there are no rules. Anything goes. Which is why they are ripe for reinvention.

A little bit messy, a little bit sticky, these Maple Dijon Sloppy Joes are all the sloppy joe was meant to be. Sweet, tangy, hearty and full of flavor, this is kid food that I love even more as a grown up. I’m a big fan of maple syrup in savory dishes. With the ground beef here, it provides just enough sweetness and plenty of rich flavor. Be sure to use good quality maple syrup (the real stuff!) and good Dijon mustard too.

This recipe makes plenty for four big sandwiches, but if you have leftovers, they actually freeze well. Or, you could get creative and reheat leftovers with a bit of hoisin sauce, a dash of soy sauce and some chopped water chestnuts and serve in lettuce wraps for a whole new Asian-inspired meal.

Maple Dijon Sloppy Joes
Serves 4+

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cop finely chopped carrot
2/3 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 pound 85% lean ground beef
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup maple syrup
salt, to taste

To serve:
4 whole wheat rolls or buns, toasted
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
Thinly sliced crisp apple

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery and pepper and sauté until the veggies are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ground beef, and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no pink remains (if the meat starts to stick, add a few tablespoons of water). Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the ketchup, Worcestershire, paprika, mustard, and maple syrup. Stir well and simmer about 10 minutes. Add salt to taste. To serve, spoon the sloppy joe mixture into the buns and top each with a slice of cheese and a slice of apple. Pass around plenty of napkins!

Check out http://www.purecanadamaple.com for more information on pure maple syrup and Think Outside The Griddle recipes.

Published in: on October 6, 2013 at 12:50 pm  Comments (2)  
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Spice Cake and a New Bundt Pan

spice bundt cake
I’ve been sitting here, trying to think of a way to explain to you why I adore spice cake.

I’ve come up with about 25 different adjectives, but the truth doesn’t have anything to do with flowery language. The truth is pretty darn simple. I love spice cake because I can get away with eating it for breakfast.

Cake for breakfast. It’s my dream. Which is why I adore my grandmother’s sour cream coffee cake in muffin form – anything in a muffin tin qualifies as breakfast, right?

As I mentioned back when I shared that coffee cake muffin recipe with you all, for many years my kitchen has been lacking a bundt cake pan. I have more bakeware than any woman should reasonably own. In fact, Jeff had to build me an extra set of shelves in the basement to hold my mini doughnut pan, my Madeleine pan, my candy molds, my petit-fours kit, my mini tart pans… you get the idea. But for some reason, I never got around to buying the basic bundt pan.

I was at my aunt’s house for dinner a couple weeks ago, and after we were so thoroughly stuffed with brisket and potatoes we thought we would never eat again, she brought out two of the prettiest bundt cakes I had ever seen. Yes, two. She’s like that. At her table, I have never been served less than two desserts, and usually more.

Her cakes were beautiful, with their pretty fluted edges. And after one taste, I realized that the shape was not just for show – all those ridges (all that extra surface area) make for plenty of extra buttery crisp bits. I love that buttery crisp cake edge!

I oohed and ahhed over those cakes, bemoaning my lack of bundt pan, whining to my cousin even as I devoured a mega slice of each.

And a week later, when UPS delivered a beautiful bundt cake pan to my door, I was baffled for only about two seconds. My cousin is so thoughtful – and had been so shocked that my over-stocked kitchen could be lacking such a necessary staple – that she turned to Amazon that very night.

So I made spice cake. And I’m loving all those buttery crisp edges and intense flavors this morning with my cup of tea. This cake is wonderfully moist and lovely on its own, but also fantastic with some barely sweetened whipped cream. And if, like me, you save a slice for breakfast, a smear of cream cheese is pretty great too.

spice cake

Spice Cake
(adapted from this Spiced Applesauce Cake recipe)

3 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups applesauce
powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt pan. Stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together until very fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well. Then stir in half of the flour mixture, all of the applesauce, and then the remaining flour mixture. The batter will be a bit stiff. Spread it into the bundt pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool before removing from the pan.

Published in: on March 10, 2013 at 11:15 am  Comments (8)  
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Butternut and Feta Omelet With Fresh Mint

omelet with buternut squash feta cheese and mint

I love brunch.  Brunch at home, brunch at restaurants, sweet brunch, savory brunch – I love all of it.  But recently, in my brunching, I have begun to notice that there is a lot of omelet snobbery out there in the world.  From arguments over the merits of adding a splash of milk to debates over whether or not to flip, people tend to be passionate about their omelet preferences.  In fact, omelet eating seems to inspire a level of intensity akin to wine drinking. No, none of my friends have yet attempted to determine the terrior of the eggs from a single bite of Sunday brunch, but such nonsense wouldn’t actually shock me.

I have to admit that I am as picky about my omelets as anyone out there.  I like a splash of milk for volume, but not too much.  I like a slight bit of browning, but no crisp edges.  I hate a runny center, but don’t want my omelet overcooked.  And most of all, I detest a filled rolled omelet.  I like plenty of fillings but want them cooked right into the egg, not sandwiched in pillowy egginess.

So yes, I’m picky.  But just as with wine, I don’t think omelets are about right or wrong, it’s just about figuring out what you enjoy.  Sure, a true, traditional French omelet has no filling and a runny center.  But I’m not a fan.  I probably shouldn’t admit this, but to me, the best part of ordering an omelet in France is that it usually comes with fries.  Actually, for years I thought I hated all omelets, but it turns out that I just had to do a little experimenting.

And I’ve even found a few local brunch places that make my kind of omelet, but I still like my own home-cooked omelets best of all.  Particularly because they are a great way to use up leftovers lingering in the fridge.

I had a bit of leftover squash and a few wilting mint leaves to use up this weekend, so an omelet was born.  I love the combination of sweet butternut squash and salty feta cheese.  But the best part of this omelet is the unexpected burst of fresh earthiness from the mint, which cuts through the richness of the egg and the tanginess of the cheese.

This recipe makes one omelet – my way.  If you happen to like your omelet thinner, use a larger pan.  If you prefer a filled omelet, just cook the egg and then toss in the butternut and feta af the end.  If you want to simply skip the fuss and go for a scramble, it will taste just as lovely.  But don’t skip the mint.  It really is worth a try – trust me.

omelet filled with squash and cheese

Butternut and Feta Omelet with Fresh Mint

Serves 1

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sliced garlic

2 extra large eggs

2 tablespoons milk

pinch of salt

pinch of pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided

1/3 cup cooked cubed butternut squash

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Heat the oil in an 8-inch omelet pan over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic and saute until just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.  Meanwhile, beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper with a wisk until very well combined. Add half of the mint to the egg mixture.  Reduce the heat to low and add the egg mixture to the pan, making sure to distribute evenly.  As the egg begins to cook on the bottom, sprinkle the cooked butternut and the feta cheese over the top of the omelet. Continue to cook the omelet until the top is no longer runny (you can cover the pan to speed this process, if you like, but it will change the texture slightly). Using a spatula to lift the edges of the omelet from the pan, slide the omelet carefully to a plate.  Top with the remaining mint and serve hot.

Published in: on January 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm  Comments (7)  
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Aleppo Roasted Carrots with Green Garbanzos and Cider-Poached Raisins

carrots green garbanzo beans

Last weekend we were in Vermont for a dear friend’s wedding.  In between a rehearsal dinner of sweet potato coconut pizza, the heart-warming marriage vows, and the after-party bonfire s’mores, Jeff and I managed to squeeze in a visit to the Rutland farmer’s market. A great farmer’s market is a treasure. And hitting a great farmer’s market on a great day in the middle of a great harvest, well, that’s just about as good as it gets.  I’m very lucky that Jeff is ever-willing to help me haul my purchases home, because I couldn’t help myself.  From beautiful pink radishes to tiny jars of picked garlic, to shimmering bottles of sweet icewine, I went a little overboard. But the best purchase of the day was these beautiful multi-colored carrots.

multicolored carrots

I adore roasted carrots.  They are nutty and sweet, and when dusted with Aleppo pepper, just a bit smokey. The combination of sweet root vegetables and subtle Aleppo pepper is addictive. You can serve the Aleppo roasted carrots all by themselves as a great side dish.  But the addition of green garbanzo beans and plump raisins takes this from side dish to meal. I have occasionally been able to find fresh garbanzo beans, but more often they are available frozen.   And if you can’t find Aleppo pepper, you can substitute Spanish paprika to mimic the sweet and smokey flavor.

puprple carrots yellow carrots white carrots

Aleppo Roasted Carrots with Green Garbanzos and Cider-Poached Raisins

Serves 2 as a main course

5 cups chopped carrots

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup frozen green garbanzo beans

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup apple cider

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the carrots with the oil, Aleppo pepper, and salt.  Spread the carrots on a baking sheet and roast until lightly browned at the edges, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, microwave the garbanzos with a few tablespoons of water for 2 minutes, then drain.  Simmer the raisins in the cider until they are very plum, about 5 minutes (you can also do this in the microwave if you prefer, just watch so it doesn’t boil over).  To serve, toss the roasted carrots, garbanzos, and raisins together.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if you like.

Published in: on October 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm  Comments (5)  
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Whole Wheat Apple Cake

Jewish Apple Cake

Last week, I promised you an apple cake recipe. And I’m following through on that promise – sort of.  Technically, I promised you my grandmother’s apple cake recipe.  This is not it.

But it turns out that Nannie’s apple cake recipe is actually a major family mystery.

I was pretty sure that I had the recipe for Nannie’s cake, along with half a dozen other Jewish apple cake recipes, in my recipe file.  But as it turns out, the recipe I had thought was my grandmother’s was virtually identical to a recipe from my aunt, which she apparently got from a woman at her synagogue. The only difference between the two recipes was the type of baking pan to be used. And when I questioned my aunt further, she revealed that she had always believed Nannie’s apple cake to have been straight from a boxed mix, with the addition of a few chopped fresh apples.  So I called my mother, and then my brother, and despite all of our combined memories of Nannie’s apple cake, we are frankly still confused.  My mother swears that while Nannie was fascinated by boxed cake mixes, her apple cake was 100% from scratch.  My brother thinks she baked it in a bundt pan, I’m certain she did not.  My mom thinks there was cinnamon in the cake batter itself, but not one of the recipes in my file has cinnamon appearing anywhere but in the apple mixture.  And the question of whether or not she peeled the apples opened a whole new round of arguments.

All I can tell you for certain is that this recipe here is decidedly not Nannie’s.  She would never have used whole wheat flour, or egg whites.  Nope – Nannie was a full-on butter and sugar kind of lady. But since uncovering the truth about the real deal would have required more recipe testing than I had time for this week, I just winged it.

jewish apple cakeAnd I think Nannie would be proud.  She would have liked the way the whole wheat flour adds a little bit of heartiness to the crumb of this cake. Nannie’s apple cake was always more like a huge, round muffin than a fluffy cake, and the whole wheat flour only enhances that lovely, dense texture. This cake is chock full of apples, which as my mom pointed out, is the whole point.  My mom is famous for having spent her youth creeping into Nannie’s kitchen to sneak slices of apple out of this cake (or pilfer raisins from a pan of cooling bran muffins, or snag bits of apricot from a cookie filling). But most of all, Nannie would have loved how easy this cake is to make.  It comes together in minutes, bakes up beautifully, and is basically fool-proof.  Nannie was not a fussy lady, and this is not a fussy cake.

This cake is wonderful with a dollop of whipped cream, and I think it would be equally tasty as a sweet breakfast treat with a big cup of coffee.  It would make a great addition to a Yom Kippur break-the-fast buffet, too.

And as for the to-peel or not-to-peel debate, I vote don’t peel.  It’s just too fussy (and I’m just too lazy).

jewish apple cake recipe

Whole Wheat Apple Cake

Serves 8

1 egg

3 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar, plus 3 tablespoons

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup orange juice

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 medium apples, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8″ round baking pan.  In a large bowl, beat the egg, egg whites, 1/2 cup of sugar, vanilla extract, oil, and juice together until well mixed. In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, and stir to combine. Toss the sliced apples with the remaining sugar and the cinnamon. Spread half of the cake batter into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.  Add the apples, and spread them as evenly as you can.  Top with the remaining batter, doing your best to spread evenly (as I mentioned, this is not a fussy cake, so don’t worry if you don’t get the batter all the way to the edges of the pan, it will spread itself as it bakes).  Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top of the cake is a dark golden color and the edges pull away from the pan.  Cool  before serving. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Published in: on September 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm  Comments (15)  
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Rosh Hashanah Recipes

We went apple picking last weekend, and I had grand plans to make my Nannie’s Jewish apple cake to share with you.

But then my boss sent me to Florida.  Where it was hot and rainy and my hair frizzed (which probably shouldn’t have bothered me since I was wearing a hard hat the whole time, but I’m kind of vain about my hair, so it did). Not that you care about my hair.  You care about apple cake.  Which I didn’t make, because I was busy flying to and from Florida and attempting to tame my frizz.

I have faith that my aunt will be making Nannie’s apple cake on Monday, so don’t worry, I will not be apple cake deprived. But I still owe you all an apple cake, and I promise it will happen – eventually.  Trust me, Nannie’s apple cake is worth waiting for.  But in the meantime, Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) is upon us and we need to make some plans to stuff the bellies of our friends and families with apple and honey and challah and all sorts of other yummy treats.

So, below are some of my favorite Rosh Hashanah recipe ideas.  Happy New Year!

rosh hashanah apple chestnut savory tart

This Chestnut, Gorgonzola and Apple Tart makes a really beautiful side dish.

holiday noodle kugel

Noodle Kugel is, of course, a holiday tradition. And New England Noodle Kugel with drunken cranberries is even more awesome.

salad for rosh hashanah

This Fennel Apple Salad is a great Rosh Hashanah side, but also works as a quick lunch along with a big loaf of crusty bread.

apples and honey pancakes

These lovely Apples ‘N Honey Pancakes are a yummy Rosh Hashanah brunch.

Published in: on September 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm  Comments (4)  
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Butternut Hash and Eggs

butternut squash and fennel

I eat eggs for dinner pretty regularly.  I know some folks consider eggs a breakfast food, and I do love a good Benedict for brunch, but I’ve always been a fan of eggs for dinner.  There is something totally relaxed, completely soothing, and inexplicably fun about an eggy supper.

I think I probably get my evening egg love from my dad.  My dad was never much of a cook.  In fact, there were only two things that he knew how to make.  One of them was scrambled eggs.  He always called it an omelet, but it was very much a scramble.  A kitchen sink scramble. With everything from leftover brisket to chopped chicken nuggets.  And somehow we loved it.  But more often than not, my dad’s “omelets” were not breakfast food.  “Omelets” were for nights when mom wasn’t home and he didn’t feel like ordering pizza. 

These days, I’m not quite as into scrambled eggs with hot dogs.  But I am still into using eggs-for-dinner nights to clean out the fridge. 

Yesterday, my fridge yielded leftover cooked butternut and a half a bulb of fennel.  I added in a few potatoes and some onion, and a hash was born. Topped with an over-easy egg, it was sweet, salty, rich and decadent.  I’m a big fan of the subtle sweetness of the squash with the crispy edges of fried egg. But if you don’t have any winter squash, you could certainly substitute sweet potato or some chopped carrots or parsnips.  I quickly steamed the butternut in the microwave, because I like it a bit soft.  If you prefer, you can roast it along with the onions and fennel. This is a really flexible hash, so play with flavors that you enjoy. And as for the fried egg, I happen to like a slightly runny yolk. I crack an egg in a hot, greased pan, cook for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for 1 minute more.  But egg cookery is very personal, so experiment until you find your perfect method.

vegetable hash and egg supper

Butternut Hash and Eggs

Serves 4

2 cups diced butternut squash

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

2 cups diced Yukon gold potato

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped fennel

 4 eggs

1 tablespoon butter

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Put a few tablespoons of water in a large microwavable bowl with the butternut squash.  Cook in the microwave on high until the butternut is soft, about 5 minutes.  Drain any excess water and return the butternut to the bowl.

Meanwhile, toss the potatoes with half of the oil, the herbs, and salt and pepper.  Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Toss the onion and fennel with the remaining oil and more salt and pepper and spread on another baking sheet.  Roast both until the potatoes are crisp and the fennel is soft, about 20 minutes.

While the vegetables roast, cook the eggs.  Heat the butter in a very large skillet over medium heat.  Carefully crack the eggs into the skillet and cook until desired doneness. 

Toss the potatoes, onions and fennel in with the butternut.  Divide the butternut mixture onto four plates and top each with an egg, and, if desired, an extra sprinkle of salt. Serve immediately.

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm  Comments (6)  
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Not Just For Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Feta Tart

french pumpkin tart with feta cheese

February is my least favorite month for cooking.  Oh sure, there is plenty of chocolate for Valentine’s Day, and little else to do besides putter in the kitchen all month.  Even so, every year, right about the middle of February, I lose steam.  With minimal produce for inspiration, and the holiday festivities a faded memory, I cave to take-out and frozen pizza more often than I’d like to admit. 

Do the winter blues hit you too?

As I sit here wishing for spring, planning my vegetable garden and dreaming of tiny strawberries, I’m attempting to jump start spring with a round of spring cleaning.  Today we tackled the basement and the kitchen cabinets.  And do you know what I found lurking at the back of my pantry?  A can of pumpkin.  It may not be a farmer’s market basket, but this vitamin-filled little can really jazzed up our quick winter supper.

You already know about my love of pumpkin.  Layered in a yogurt parfait, swirled into oatmeal, stuffed in ravioli, or baked in a cupcake, you really can’t go wrong with canned pumpkin. The slightly sweet earthy pumpkin works wonderfully with the salty tang of the feta and the nutty flavor of the swiss chard in this simple tart. A sliver of this tart would probably be a very nice appetizer for a fancy dinner party, but a big wedge also works well as a main course served with a big arugula salad dressed in good olive oil and lemon juice.

I like this Easy Olive Oil Tart Crust recipe from the wonderful Chocolate & Zucchini but you can use any tart crust you like.  You could even use refrigerated pie crust dough here and I’m sure the tart would still turn out wonderfully.  I do think that a good tart pan, with a removable bottom, is pretty important, though.  Before investing in a tart pan (really, not a very big expenditure) I made many mediocre tarts in a pie plate.  The too-deep, flat sides of the pie dish result in a soggy crust, and an unpleasant filling-to-crust ratio.  If you don’t have a tart pan, you might be better off making a rustic crostada – just roll out the dough on a baking sheet, spread the filling in the middle, leaving a two-inch border.  Fold the crust edges into the middle, brush with a bit of oil, and bake until golden.

Pumpkin Feta Tart

Serves 6 (as a main course)

1 recipe of tart crust dough 

3/4 cup thinly sliced onion

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 cups thinly sliced fresh swiss chard

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 cups canned pumpkin

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Carefully press the crust into a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling.  Saute the onion in oil over medium heat until soft and just beginning to darken. Add in the swiss chard and cook 1 minute more. Season liberally with salt and pepper and stir in the rosemary.  Remove from the heat.  In a medium sized bowl, stir the pumpkin and the eggs well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove the crust from the refrigerator.  Spread the pumpkin mixture evenly in the crust.  Sprinkle the swiss chard mixture evenly over the pumpkin mixture and top with the feta cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Published in: on February 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm  Comments (12)  
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Maple Cheesecake

cheesecake

Most people would probably disagree, but I think the best part of cheesecake is the crust.  I love that graham cracker crumbly deliciousness. The cheesecake part of cheesecake is growing on me, but for many years I considered it an over-rated dessert.  Somewhat plain, not quite worth the calories. And frankly, plain old New York cheesecake still doesn’t do much for me.

But smooth, sweet silky maple cheesecake is a whole different story. 

Maple syrup screams holiday season to me, and it makes everything feel more festive.  We devoured this whole cake at Thanksgiving (which means I still have a ton of leftover pumpkin pie – anyone have any fun ideas for what to do with half a leftover pie?) and I plan to make it again for Christmas.  With a subtle maple syrup flavor in the cake, and a more intense punch of maple syrup in the crust, this cake blew away the rest of our dessert spread. It’s smoother than a traditional New York cheesecake, a truly decadent texture. And you know what?  You don’t really have to wait for a holiday to make this cheesecake.  There is nothing wrong with cheesecake on a Tuesday.

Maple Cheesecake

Serves 10-12

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

3  cups graham cracker crumbs

1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter

1 1/2 cups maple syrup, divided

24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup sour cream

4 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Candied Cranberries for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, grind the nuts until well chopped, but not a paste. In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, nuts, melted butter, and half a cup of maple syrup.  Press the mixture evenly into a 10-inch springform pan and wrap the bottom of the pan with two layers of foil to prevent leaks.

Beat the cream cheese until fluffy.  Add the sour cream and beat until incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla and beat well, scraping down the edges of the bowl. Fold in the remaining cup of maple syrup. Carefully pour the cream cheese mixture into the crust. Bake for 60-70 minutes until golden on top.  The cake will not be set, but will set as it cools.  Chill the cake overnight before unmolding and serving.  Top with a handful of candied cranberries, if desired.

Published in: on November 27, 2011 at 8:11 pm  Comments (17)  
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Thanksgiving Sides to Savor

Can I tell you a little secret? 

I don’t really like traditional Thanksgiving sides. 

Actually, it’s not that I don’t like them, it’s just that I don’t love them.  And I want to love them. I feel like I’m supposed to swoon over mashed potatoes, but I find most versions kind of boring.  And stuffing? Um, it’s mushy bread. 

But I do love Thanksgiving. I love curling up on the couch with a big mug of coffee to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I love spending the afternoon in the kitchen with my family.  I love lingering around the table. And Thanksgiving isn’t really about the turkey anyway, it’s about family and friends.  I know I’ve harped a lot lately on the concept of good living, but I promise this is the last time.

There’s a moment, after the pumpkin pie, when the whole family is full and happy and laughing. To me, that moment is truly the height of good living. As I mentioned before, the folks at Fage (makers of yummy Greek yogurt)  have asked a few of us food bloggers to weigh in on what makes for good living.  And while I’d gladly trade lumpy mashed potatoes and chilly New England weather for crispy spanakopita and Mediterranean sunshine, we can live the good life right here in Connecticut too. Whether corn bread stuffing makes you drool or not, be sure to savor all of the good moments this week!

And should you like some inspiration for deviating from the usual green bean casserole and sweet potato casserole, one of the following recipes might make a fun addition to your Thanksgiving line up.

noodle kugel

New England Noodle Kugel

 

sweet potato

Sweet Potato and Gorgonzola Gnocchi

 

barley side dish

Roasted Onion Barley Risotto

 

chestnut apple tart

Chestnut, Gorgonzola and Apple Tart

 

As part of the Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program, I have been entered for the chance to win a trip to Greece courtesy of FAGE. You too can enter to win one of three trips to Greece by entering the FAGE Plain Extraordinary Greek Getaway here: http://www.fageusa.com/community/fage-greek-getaway

Published in: on November 21, 2011 at 7:55 pm  Comments (6)  
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