Pretty Ugly Food

Thanksgiving was full of beautiful food, flowers, and family. Other than my no-knead sweet potato rolls, this year Mom requested a signature cocktail. I think we really delivered using items she already had on hand.

The Thanksgiving Mimosa

The Thanksgiving Mimosa

The Thanksgiving Mimosa is champagne, pomegranate juice, and frozen cranberries. It couldn’t be easier, but feels super festive. You could make it with sparkling cider, or these cute cranberry skewers from Style Me Pretty.

Thanksgiving 2014

Sweet potato rolls. Acorn squash with pinto beans and chorizo.

These sweet potato dinner rolls are probably my family’s favorite thing I make all year. They are snapped up so fast that in almost 5 years of dating, E had never had one until this weekend. (I made him take the first one.) The recipe was first posted on The Kitchn back in 2008. They’re super easy to make, but do require a bit of time to rise.

The other recipe I brought to dinner a little something new. Did you know there’s a brand of chipotle peppers with adobo sauce that comes in a resealable jar now? I’m so happy. Normally I plan out a bunch of recipes before opening a chipotle can and still can’t work through it all before the peppers turn weird.  I first made this combo to celebrate my new jarred chipotle: Williams-Sonoma Roasted Acorn Squash with Chipotle and Food & Wine Spiced Pinto Beans with Chorizo using chipotle in adobo sauce instead of powder and skipping the pork rind garnish. Both recipes are great alone and they’re even better together. I’ve made is as stuffed squash with rice, as a casserole, and as this version that can be easily pulled apart by any picky eaters. We could also have kept squash separate if we have vegetarians present. This is by far the prettiest version.

And now for the ugly:

Pear Dutch Baby

I thought this was supposed to get crispy?

As my sister said, “That is Martha Stewart level“.

After spending a few days at my parents’ house, we returned to some over ripe pears and I thought I’d try my hand at a Dutch Baby. What better way to use up the remaining flour? I mostly followed the Bon Appetit recipe, adding a little bit of ground ginger and waaaay too much brown sugar on the pears. Cooking the pears and brown sugar made a syrup that the batter cooked in and it couldn’t crisp up like it was supposed to. Luckily it was still delicious, especially for breakfast with some maple sausage. That said, don’t fail like me. Go easy on the brown sugar.

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Mount Baker Park

Once, on a flight back to Seattle from California, I overheard some girls commenting on my city: “Oh! It’s so grey!” It took a lot of energy to not tell them how wrong they were. Does this look grey to you?

Rainy day

This was on a rainy day

We came across Mount Baker Park while trying to find a yard sale. We didn’t pick up anything at the sale, but we do have a new favorite place.  It may be the most beautiful place in Seattle as far as I’m concerned.

Rainy Day

The stream goes down a set of stepped pools.

The park stretches for a few blocks, from the inner part of a neighborhood down to the Lake Washinton. There’s a playground a the top of the park, complete with a tennis court and a seated zip line (so much more fun than the kind where you dangle). Then there is a grassy expanse that eventually turns in to this stepped stream. The shade plants that boarder the  ravine are inspiring my own gardening.

We only left when the rain really got going. Lazy happy weekends call for some croissants.

Pear Galette

On Christmas eve at my parents’ place I discovered a plethora of pears in the fridge. They have a year round CSA box and the pears, while tasty, go uneaten. We had one pie crust left and a preheated oven, so I found a simple recipe that could be accomplished right before we sat down to dinner. The pear galette was such a success that Mom requested another one for her birthday this week!

Note: I do not recommend putting candles in to hot tarts.

What I used:

  • 1 pre-made pie crust
  • 4-5 pears, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground clove
  • 1 egg, whisked for an eggwash

How to cook it:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Get that premade pie crust out of the fridge. It should naturally get to room temperature before you unroll it. Slice the pears and place the slices in to a large bowl. Pour the sugar and the spices over top of the pears, stirring it all all together.

Unroll the pie crust on a baking sheet. Pour the pear mixture into the center, forming a mound with an approximately 2-inch boarder. Fold the edges of the crust up and over the edges of the pear mountain. Brush the egg wash over the crust. Place the galette in the oven for 30 minutes. Go eat dinner while it’s baking.

Happy birthday, Mom!

This is a fairly free-form tart. The pears can be peeled, but it’s not necessary if you want to throw it together quickly. The Christmas one had cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice to match the meal. It also had a honey wash instead of an egg wash; the honey wash was made with by combining honey and hot water then painting it on with a basting brush after the galette came out of the oven. This time I wanted it to have more of that ginger kick since we had Thai food for dinner. You could also cut the sugar in half since the pears are so naturally sweet!

Basically, this pear galette is endlessly adaptable and incredibly simple. It doesn’t get better than that.

Pumpkin Ale Bread

Happy Halloween weekend! Instead of decorating like I originally planned, I baked pumpkin ale bread to celebrate. The recipe comes from Caroline at A Cozy Kitchen as a grown-up version of her college staple.

Pumpkin Ale Bread!

The basic recipe from her college days is 3 cups flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder, and one 12oz beer. Use one beer for the recipe and drink the other five! Yup, college. This version is dressed up with salt, ginger, cinnamon, all-spice, and pumpkin ale.
I’m not an ale girl, so I used up half the 6-pack by making three different kinds. The first was plain and had too much baking powder. Oops! It was tasty as a bread, but too bland to take to coworkers for a treat. I changed to 2 tablespoons white sugar, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and doubled all the spices. The second attempt has walnuts and extra all-spice. The third has walnuts and chocolate chips with extra cinnamon. 
The verdict: Delicious. This recipe is boyfriend and coworker approved. 
Maybe next time I’ll try it with a stout and use some chocolate powder…