Apple Cranberry Tart with Walnut Streusel

Apples and cranberries are a natural, delicious combination, and between crumbles and pie, I was inspired to enjoy the apple/cranberry combo in my dessert routine as well.

I knew I’d enjoy this and it was also a way for me to scratch my apple pie itch while making something new. You have the familiar comfort food flavor of apple pie, but also the tart of cranberries, the tang of sour cream, the crunch of a walnut topping, and the spice of the graham cracker crust–a great twist on a fall favorite. So if you’ve also got an apple pie itch to scratch, give this a try!

  • Graham cracker crust
  • 4 apples (I used 2 honey crisp and 2 gala)
  • 1.5 cups cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • dash cardamom
  • splash orange juice

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Roasted Duck with Spiced Ginger Cranberry Sauce

Duck is a rare treat for me. I’m not sure why, but given how infrequently I have it, it just always stays in a special place for me. I had been craving the roast duck with orange sauce I’d prepared a few months ago, so I thought I’d revisit it with a seasonal twist and get started on working with one of those autumn-only fruits: cranberries! So today, Roasted Duck with Spiced Ginger Cranberry Sauce.

And just like my memories of the duck with orange sauce, this was simply amazing. The duck was incredibly rich and the sauce was had a deceptively simple appearance while packing a very, full, well-rounded flavor–fruity, spicy (the cloves and anise give a great finish), and acidic–the perfect compliment to cut through the duck. The tartness of the cranberries was balanced by the sweetness of the wine caramel (yeah, you read it right)… click to read more…

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Braised Short Ribs with Plum Sauce

I love ribs. Absolutely love them. Beef shortribs are a different animal (no, er, ok, some pun intended), but still, they’re ribs! A beautiful but tough, rich and fatty cut, that with a bit of time and slow cooking, can be transformed into the most tender, flavorful, delicious meat. With that being said, I wanted to enjoy these with some plums before they disappear for the season, and so the result was a dish that seemed like a blend of homey comfort food and some Asian flavors: Braised Short Ribs with Plum Sauce.

Braise dishes just scream late autumn/winter to me, and this is the kind of dish that will keep you warm but still have surprisingly bright, full flavors. After hours of slow cooking, the ribs will be fall apart tender and the sauce will take on a very full body with surprisingly complex flavor. The plums lose some of that bright… click to read more…

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Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream

Are you tired of pumpkin yet? Of course not–sweet, savory, or whatever–this is a versatile fruit. So I indulged in one of my usual instincts when it comes to making dessert: ice cream! So today’s addition to the freezer is a batch of Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream.

Just like with pumpkin pie, I chose to pair the flavor of pumpkin with the usual spice suspects (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger). I’ve mentioned before how I love the flavor you can extract from cinnamon (and friends) as compared to the ground stuff we’re all used to, and this is another place where the sultry side of the spices gets to shine without stealing the show from the true star:… click to read more…

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Creamy Avocado Soup

Somehow, I’ve gotten a bit behind on some of my posts, so despite the fact that the leaves have already changed colors, let’s take a moment to pretend its still summer. What do you say? This soup is so delightfully simple, you could make it in a hurry any day of the week. If you love avocados, you’ll love this–creamy and served cold, the toughest decision is what you’ll want to serve along with this Creamy Avocado Soup.

As you can see, the brilliant plating I had in mind looked a little silly when all put together, but ah well, you win some, you lose some. Flavor-wise though, I was delighted–I cooked some bacon, crumbled it on top, and then sautéed some fresh, local shrimp in the bacon fat (shelled, deveined, and cooked for 3-4 minutes) to go along with this soup and make it more of a self-contained meal. Plus, both the sweet flavor of the shrimp the… click to read more…

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with White Beans and Sausage

Aside from cinnamony apple desserts, I think there’s another dish just about everybody seems to enjoy and crave come autumn: butternut squash soup. It seems like even the most fervent anti-squash types warm up to a bowl of the stuff (and how could they not?). Even though I’m in season-deprived state of sunny Florida, my craving kicked in like clockwork and I had to have a bowl. I wanted to make a meal of this soup, so in the name of adding more substance to it, I added cannellini beans and sausage.

Of the many inspirations I had for this soup, this is what really caught my eye. Some roasted butternut squash soups can be a bit more liquidy (generally not my preference), but… click to read more…

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