Poached Pear

This is a delightfully simple but flavorful dessert: poached pears.

Poached pear in syrup

Poached pear is essentially a peeled and cored pear cooked (well, poached) in a sweet and spicy solution, then topped off with the poaching solution which has been cooked down to a syrup. The ingredient list sounds deceptively simple, but the flavor is really incredible and vibrant. The pears become translucent and incredibly tender, still retaining a distinct pear flavor, but complemented by a really vibrant citrus flavor that only enhances the pear. The vanilla and cloves add a really subtle, but interesting taste and aroma. This is a nice quick dessert to put together, but don’t let that fool you–this is really tasty and refreshing. This particular recipe is largely derived from The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Dessert, which so far, has not done me wrong in the dessert department. This recipe isn’t entirely true to the original (which had some… click to read more…

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Thanksgiving: the plan

I had originally hoped to have the majority of my intended Thanksgiving recipes posted on here, but alas, no such luck. So I figured I’d offer the next best thing: what I intend to cook (some of which is already posted here).

I’m hosting a small Thanksgiving this year, and I’m looking forward to preparing everything. I hosted a Christmas get together once before (20-30 people), and I remember the meal going well (good food, enough for everybody–it all came together!), but realistically, I barely squeaked by. I was still pretty new to cooking and did an awful job of planning, so I was running around like a headless chicken all day. I’ve cooked a lot more since then, I’m much more comfortable, and I feel like I can put a lot more thought into what and how I intend to get things done. With that said, I’m really looking forward to this dinner, even if its not quite for… click to read more…

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Persimmon Chiffon Cake & Custard

This time of year is right smack in the middle of the harvest of one of my favorite fruits of all time: persimmons! I love eating persimmons fresh, but they really don’t get enough love recipe-wise. I was hoping I could try my hand at a different persimmon-based dessert: persimmon chiffon cake & custard drizzled with caramel sauce.

Persimmon Chiffon Cake & Custard drizzled with Caramel Sauce

If you’ve never heard of persimmons before, it is very important that we establish up front that these stout, orange-colored fruits (which look like odd tomatoes but are nothing like them) are simply the best fruit out there (I think I’d put figs second, for those keeping score). Grab some now at your grocery store if you can–they aren’t around long during the year, but they are really something.

Persimmons come in many different varieties which are all quite different from each other. My favorite is the hachiya: acorn shaped and one of the absolute worst things you could possibly eat… click to read more…

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Buttermilk Pancakes

A great breakfast for a sleepy weekend morning that will always please a crowd: freshly made buttermilk pancakes.

Buttermilk Pancakes

I ate a lot of pancakes growing up, and while I don’t eat quite as many now (my average breakfast has shrunk a bit), they are still a nice occasional treat on the weekend (that and bacon…). Plus, if you’re entertaining and have company, this is a great way to prepare something fast and fresh when you’re still not entirely awake. Nobody will be the wiser as a tall stack of homemade pancakes will impress and hold the crowd over until lunch. 😉 Furthermore, you can even cater to each person’s individual tastes with whatever assortment of toppings you have handy, so you should even have your pickier eaters covered (because we all know that nobody would dare to eat a plain pancake!).

I thought that this recipe would be fun to post here in case you might be more accustomed… click to read more…

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Stewed Creole Barbecue Chicken

This is a favorite of mine–a chicken dish that’s hearty, savory, rich, and spicy, blending creole flavors with barbecue for a match made in heaven.

Stewed Creole Barbecue Chicken

I’ve prepared variants of this dish for a long time, but it never had a name beyond “barbecue chicken.” Let’s face it, that evokes a mental image of just throwing a bare piece of chicken on the grill which I’m sure you’ll agree is a far cry from the above photo. So now that I’m writing about what I cook, I am faced with some of the really difficult life changing decisions. I tried to seek out dishes that seemed similar so I could have an interesting name. I was tempted to call this a gumbo, but it really isn’t. Same goes for jambalaya and étouffée…but they’re so close. The flavors at play are definitely similar, but there’s no roux, andouille, or celery, and let’s face it, those kinds of ingredients are key to… click to read more…

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Plum Almond Tart

I regularly read Smitten Kitchen and somewhat recently saw a post about Plum-Almond Tarts and couldn’t resist trying to bake one for myself. They looked great, plums are in season, I like plums and almonds, so why not?

Plum Almond Tart

I wasn’t at my best in the kitchen that day–I substituted my own crust recipe assuming it would work out about the same, but in the end, simply had too much crust. And then, not sure why, but the pie filling just refused to set, so in trying to wait it out, ultimately, my too-much-crust kind of burnt. And it seems that for some reason, I had it my head that I needed to peel the plums. However, in the end, despite all of the mistakes, the flavors were fantastic and despite my experience, I would highly recommend baking this. The dessert was light and tart (tart?… click to read more…

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