Tuesday, December 31

Cara Cara Orange, Avocado, & Butter Lettuce Salad

A vibrant winter salad adapted from Suzanne Goin's The A.O.C. Cookbook.

Suzanne Goin's Cara Cara Orange Avocado Salad

Christmas always means that I get a couple of new cookbooks from my wishlist. When I get a new book, I literally read the whole thing from cover to cover and then make a list of all the recipes that I want to try from it, which I add to my iPhone's already incredibly long list of pending recipes and ideas. One of the new ones I just received was Suzanne Goin's The A.O.C. Cookbook, which is based off dishes she makes at one of my favorite restaurants, A.O.C. I'm not even done reading it yet, but I already made an adaptation of one of her salads the other day. She categorizes her dishes by season, ensuring that the ingredients in this winter salad will be at their peak freshness and availability. I picked up the Cara Cara oranges, avocados, and butter lettuce at my local farmers market, although you could substitute whatever type of orange or soft lettuce is available closest to you. The creamy avocado dressing adds a richness to the tender lettuce and sweet orange segments and the hint of chile makes the whole thing pop. It's a fresh, bright way to enjoy winter produce and makes for an interesting side dish among more traditional cold-weather fare.

Cara Cara Orange, Avocado, & Butter Lettuce Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing:
For Dressing
  • Remove the pit from 1 large, very ripe avocado and scoop the flesh into a blender with 2-3 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1/4 c. water, and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Blend until smooth, then open the lid of the blender and slowly stream in 1/3 c. grapeseed oil* while the motor is running.
  • Turn off blender immediately once all the oil is added and transfer to a bowl. Stir in 2 tbsp. heavy cream and check for seasoning.
For Salad
  • Remove the core from 1 head of butter lettuce and wash and dry thoroughly.**
  • Meanwhile, cut the skin off of 2 Cara Cara oranges, and then slice between the membranes of each section over a bowl to catch all the segments and juices.
  • Remove the pit and skin from 1-2 ripe avocados and slice thinly. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Toss the lettuce in a bowl with some of the dressing and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Arrange the lettuce onto plates, then scatter some of the orange and avocado slices over, drizzle a little of the orange juice over, and a scatter 1/2 thinly sliced Fresno chili on top.

Serves two (light meal)
Serves four (side dish)
*Available at most grocery stores. Can substitute with a light olive oil.
**The best way to do this is to soak the lettuce leaves in a sink filled with cold water, then spin dry in a salad spinner. You can also wrap the wet lettuce in a dry kitchen towel and whip the towel around until the lettuce is dry.

Friday, December 27

New Year's Eve Appetizers

New Year's Eve Appetizer Recipes

The meaning of New Year's Eve has taken on a lot of change for me over the past few years. Once my
favorite party night of the year, it's turned into a much more relaxed celebration with my husband and a few close friends. Rather than brave the crowds and fork over a hefty cover charge at a nearby bar, we like to host an intimate gathering at home and spend our money on good champagne and a few indulgent eats. We'll most likely have a glass in our hand all night, so I find that serving an array of appetizers is the easiest way to fill up on New Year's Eve without interfering with the fun. These easy and elegant bites can be prepped in advance and then quickly heated or assembled right before guests arrive or in waves over the course of the evening. Serve with your favorite champagne or festive cocktail and enjoy!

New Year's Eve Appetizers:

* Want more ideas? See a full list of my appetizer recipes.

The key to a good cocktail party (besides good cocktails!) is to make sure you're enjoying time with friends instead of spending the night in the kitchen. Here are some of my favorite store-bought items to set out as appetizers - no cooking required:
     - Smoked or Salted Almonds
     - Thinly-sliced Prosciutto or Genoa Salami
     - Herbed Boursin Cheese and Water Crackers
     - Crunchy, Juicy Green Grapes

Thursday, December 26

Jalapeno Margaritas

It's five o'clock somewhere with these fresh and spicy margaritas

Jalapeno Margarita Recipe

I'm in Minnesota for a week celebrating my first ever white Christmas with my husband and in-laws. We've been enjoying our share of festive activities: viewing Christmas lights around the city, attending a play, and enjoying traditional holiday food and drinks. But we took a break from tradition earlier in the week and I made a big Mexican dinner for everyone, complete with homemade margaritas. These have a spicy kick from fresh jalapenos and rival the drinks at our favorite restaurant. The key is using fresh squeezed lime juice, which yields the perfect balance of tang and sweetness that you can't get from bottled juice or mixes. I'd recommend using a citrus juicer (I have this durable and inexpensive one at home) to make juicing all those limes a breeze. All of the ingredients can be prepared well in advance (the jalapeno tequila can keep for months!) and can be scaled to feed a crowd. We ended up quadrupling the recipe for our group, which made for a very fun night.

More Cocktail Recipes:
- Kumquatinis
- Mojitos
- Asian Pear Martinis

Spicy Jalapeno Margaritas:
  • Make the simple syrup. Combine 1/2 c. sugar and 1 c. water in a small sauce pan over medium high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  • Transfer the simple syrup to the refrigerator until cold.*
  • Cut a jalapeno in half lengthwise and add to a cocktail shaker with a lot of ice and 1/2 c. of silver tequila.**
  • Add in 1/2 c. fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1/4 c. triple sec, and 1/4 c. simple syrup.
  • Put the top on the shaker and shake until very cold.
  • Strain the margaritas into glasses and garnish with thin slices of jalapeno and lime.

Makes 2-3 drinks
*Simple syrup can be made at least a week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. If you don't have much time, you can quickly cool the syrup by placing the container of syrup in a bowl full of ice.
**Another option is to combine the tequila and jalapeno in a container and let sit for several hours or even several days, depending on how spicy you want the drink. The infused tequila will keep for months.

Do you like your margaritas blended? Remove the jalapeno from the infused tequila and combine it with the remaining ingredients and a handful of ice in a blender. Blend until smooth and frothy.

Want to add a salted rim to your glass? Simply rub a lime wedge around the rim of your glass and then dip in a plate of kosher salt.

Spicy margaritas not your thing? Just omit the jalapeno and you'll have the perfect classic margarita recipe.

Wednesday, December 18

Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas

Because I work in online retail, I get better every year at planning out my holiday gift giving early in the season and securing big gifts during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal craze. But no matter how thoroughly I plan, there is always a group of people who I still need to give a small gift to. Homemade treats are a great last minute way to let your friends and co-workers know that you're thinking of them this Christmas. These sweet and savory items are easy and affordable gifts that can be given on their own or as an addition to a holiday gift basket. Cute packaging goes a long way when sharing these gifts: spoon sauces and spreads into reusable glass containers, place cookies and chocolates into festive cellophane bags, and print the recipes out on nice stationery so that your friends can remake these treats after the new year.

Edible Homemade Christmas Gifts:


Spreads & Sauces

Homemade gifts not your thing? Hostesses, home cooks, and foodies will love receiving unique, artisinal goods from Food52 ProvisionsSur La Table  has tons of name brand cookware for under $100. And the gift giving possibilities are endless at Amazon. Today is the last day to get ground shipping in time for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 17

Bean, Cheese, & Avocado Tostadas with Fried Eggs

You'd never know these tostadas are made from leftovers

Bean, Cheese, & Avocado Tostadas with Fried Eggs

I love simmering a big pot of beans over the weekend and then using the leftovers as a side dish, snack, or part of a meal all week long. I had a handful of leftover beans that I mashed together and smeared onto a hot crispy tostada shell before sprinkling with cheese and topping with a fried egg. It’s a humble meal, but the garnishes of buttery sliced avocado, spicy jalapeno, and fresh cilantro keep it flavorful and exciting. It makes a great breakfast, but I usually eat something like this for dinner on a busy weeknight. There are seemingly endless variations of this recipe and it’s a great vehicle for using up any leftovers you have in your fridge.

Related Recipes:
- Perfectly Cooked Black Beans
- Chilaquiles
- Mahi Mahi Tostadas with Avocado Sauce

Mashed Bean and Cheese Tostadas with Fried Eggs, Avocado, & JalapeƱos:
  • Heat 1" of canola oil in a small skillet until very hot and shimmering.
  • Add in 4 corn tortillas, one tortilla at a time, and cook until crisp and golden, using tongs to flip a few times while frying. Let the tostada shell drain on paper towels and repeat the process with the next three tortillas.
  • Meanwhile, mash 1 c. of warm, cooked black beans with a few tbsp. of bean cooking liquid* until thick and spreadable. Season with salt and pepper as necessary.
  • Spread a layer of the black beans on one side of each tostada, then sprinkle with a layer of grated Jack cheese. Place the tostadas on a baking sheet and transfer to a 350F oven to melt the cheese and keep warm.
  • While cheese is melting, fry 4 eggs to your desired doneness and season with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer the tostadas to plates, top each with a fried egg, a few slices of avocado, slices of thinly sliced jalapeƱo, and a few leaves of fresh cilantro.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.

Serves four
*This is if you cooked your own dried beans. Otherwise, drain canned beans and add a little water or chicken stock as necessary to form the right consistency.

Thursday, December 12

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto

Turn cooked broccoli into a flavorful pesto sauce in this Smitten Kitchen recipe

Broccoli has always been one of my favorite vegetables and I honestly can't understand the bad rap that it gets among some groups of people. It's pretty much available at every grocery store year round and can be used in a variety of preparations. If you're like me, you might get in a rut of just roasting, steaming, or sauteing the florets, but this broccoli "pesto" pasta will remind you of its versatility and provides the perfect solution for using the thick broccoli stalks that often get tossed out. The recipe is adapted from Deb Perelman's and calls for cooking the broccoli and then pureeing it with a little cream and seasonings to form a thick, sturdy sauce. I like to serve it over whole wheat spaghetti and liberally top with red chili flakes and grated parm. It's the perfect weeknight supper and an even quicker meal if you're able to use up leftover steamed broccoli from the night before.

More Broccoli Recipes:
- Broccoli Fried Brown Rice
- Caramelized Broccoli
- Penne with Broccolini and Sausage

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto:
  • Slice the florets off of 1 lb. of broccoli, then peel the thick outer skin from the stem and slice into 1" pieces.
  • Cook broccoli in boiling water for 4-5 minutes, or until tender, then drain and set aside.*
  • In a skillet, add in 1 tbsp. olive oil and cook 1 diced onion over medium heat for 7 minutes, or until soft. Add in 3 minced cloves of garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Add in the broccoli, 1/2 c. heavy cream, a large pinch of red chili flakes, the zest of one lemon, and season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Simmer for a minute, then transfer to a blender or food processor and pulse until a chunky sauce forms.**
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt, and cook 1 lb. of whole wheat spaghetti until al dente.
  • Drain, reserving 1 c. pasta water, and return to the pot you boiled the pasta in.
  • Toss in the broccoli sauce, moistening with 1/2 c. pasta water or more if necessary, until sauce coats pasta.
  • Divide onto plates and top with grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red chili flakes.

Serves four-six
*Or steam until tender and set aside.
**If mixture is too thick, add a little bit of water until it forms more of a sauce-like consistency. You'll be mixing it with pasta cooking water later, though, so don't dilute it too much to begin with.

Wednesday, December 11

Free-Form Apple Tart with Cinnamon Crumble

Soft apples and a cinnamon crumble wrapped in a flaky, buttery crust

The height of apple season is already over, but there's still a lot of good varieties at my local markets (and even in the regular grocery store year round). My favorite types to eat are either Fuji, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady, but I think that the tarter Granny Smiths are best to use for baking. This casual and rustic take on a traditional apple pie has all my favorite components: a super flaky buttery crust, mounds of tender baked apples, and a sweet crumble topping. The tart isn't the most impressive thing to look at but it doesn't require any special tools to put together and the taste more than makes up for the appearance.

Related Recipes:
- Caramel Apple Bundt Cake
- Pecan Pie
- Apple Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle

Free-Form Apple Tart with Cinnamon Crumble:
For Crust
  • Pulse 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. salt in a food processor until combined.
  • Pulse in 2 sticks (16 tbsp.) cold butter until the butter is the size of peas.
  • Slowly stir in 1/2 c. ice cold water until the dough just barely comes together to form a ball.
  • Flatten dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least one hour* in the fridge.
For Tart
  • Peel and core 4 Granny Smith apples and slice 1/4"-1/2" thick.
  • Toss the apples with 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1/3 c. sugar, 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour, and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon.
  • In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 c. flour, 1/3 c. sugar, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Stir in 4 tbsp. melted butter until crumbles form and set topping aside.
  • Roll out the dough in a circle about 1/4" thick and place on a baking sheet.
  • Mound the apple mixture* in the middle of the dough, leaving about an inch border from the edge.
  • Fold up the edges of the dough over the apples to form a crust.
  • Sprinkle the crumble topping over the top of the apples and bake in a 375F oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden.
  • Let cool before slicing and serving.

Serves eight
*If there is a lot of liquid at the bottom of the bowl you should drain it off before pouring into the crust.

Tuesday, December 10

Garlic Hassleback Potatoes

Growing up, we'd have some sort of starch (rice, pasta, rolls, or potatoes) on the dinner table every night. To me, no formal dinner is complete without one and most of my favorite starchy sides are potato dishes. These garlic hassleback potatoes are a nice riff on a standard roasted potato but are just as easy to make. The slices in the potatoes separate and crisp as they cook which leaves them looking like little accordions. I stuffed the slices with garlic, but pretty much any flavoring can be added. Because the potatoes are small, they also work as perfect two-bite appetizers or finger food at your next party.

More Potato Side Dishes:
- Potato and Gruyere Gratin
- The Perfect Mashed Potatoes
- Duck Fat Potato Galette

Garlic Hassleback Potatoes:
  • Scrub the skins from 1 lb. of small white new potatoes* and pat dry.
  • Slice the potatoes 1/4" thick all the way across, making sure to only cut 3/4 of the way down the potato so that the whole thing stays intact.
  • Toss the potatoes in 3 tbsp. melted duck fat** and season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Slice 5 cloves of garlic paper thin and then stuff the garlic slivers into the slits of the potato.
  • Arrange the potatoes in an even layer on a baking sheet and place in a 400F oven.
  • Roast the potatoes for 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the edges are brown and crispy.
  • Let cool slightly, the top each potato with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of minced chives.

Serves two-three (side dish)
Serves four-six (appetizer)
*Or any waxy small potato, such as Yukon Gold. This recipe can also be done with large potatoes, but you will need to cook them in the oven for longer.
**Or melted butter or olive oil.

Monday, December 9

French Onion Soup Gratinee

Channel Julia Child with this classic French onion soup recipe

Although I love eating out at new and exciting restaurants, there's something about classic dishes that I really love. I was amazed at how few places we ate at in Paris (see my honeymoon recap and restaurant guide here) were serving traditional French fare, though I was able to satisfy my craving for French onion soup a few times. There's something so comforting about breaking open that seal of melted cheese and bread to get to the rich broth and soft onions. The gratinee looks impressive, but the dish itself is so easy and homey to make. This is a classic recipe inspired by Julia Child and requires some patience to make sure the onions melt down into luscious caramelized goodness. It's a great rainy day soup and leftovers are easy to reheat and serve later in the week.

More Classic French Recipes:
- Croque Madames
- Chocolate Souffles
- Sole Meuniere

Note: A full list of all French recipes on the blog can be found here.

French Onion Soup with Gruyere Gratinee:
  • Peel and slice 3 large yellow onions in half, then cut into even 1/2" wide slices.
  • Melt 2 tbsp. butter and 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot over low heat.
  • Add in the onions and stir to coat in the butter mixture.
  • Cook the onions over low heat, stirring every 10 minutes, for 40 minutes or until very soft.
  • Season generously with salt and a small pinch of sugar and turn up the heat slightly until onions have turned a light caramel color, stirring often. This will take another 10-15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle 1 tbsp. flour over the onions and stir for a couple more minutes.
  • Pour in 1 c. white wine and 8 c. low-sodium beef broth and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for another 45 minutes.
  • Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  • To serve, ladle soup into ramekins or bowls. Cover the top of each soup with rounds of sliced baguette* and then sprinkle the bread with a layer of grated Gruyere cheese.
  • Place the soup under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  • Soup will be extremely hot, so let cool for a couple minutes before serving.

Serves six-eight
*Stale, dry bread is ideal here. If your bread is fresh, toast it for a few minutes to dry it out.

Friday, December 6

Traditional Bolognese Sauce

I’m always trying to come up with easy and casual dinners to serve to our friends. It’s fun to make something fancy for a big weekend dinner party, but most of time we get together on weeknights after work and want to dig into something universally appealing and comforting. I served this bolognese sauce for our friends last night and it was the perfect thing to dig into alongside a salad, garlic bread, and plenty of red wine. Everyone went home happy and full and we were left with very little to clean up. It just proves that entertaining doesn’t have to be stressful or formal to be a success.

Note: This is the third Bolognese recipe that I’ve posted. It’s not as easy as the quick weeknight version or as decadent as the “ultimate”, but it comes together quickly, reheats well, and has a traditional flavor that will mimic your favorite Italian restaurant.

Related Recipes:
- Weeknight Bolognese
- Slow-Cooked Ultimate Bolognese Sauce
- Penne with Turkey Sausage & Roasted Vegetable Sauce

Traditional Bolognese Sauce:
  • Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a heavy pot or small dutch oven.
  • Add in 1 lb. ground beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon, for 3-5 minutes, or until brown.
  • Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, add 2-3 diced, peeled carrots,* 1 diced stalk of celery, and  diced onion to a food processor and pulse until finely minced.
  • Add the vegetables to the skillet and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 5 minutes, or until soft, then add in 3 cloves of minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Add in 1 c. of red wine and reduce by half, then add in 24 oz. of canned crushed tomatoes, the ground beef, another heavy pinch of salt, and a pinch of red chili flakes.
  • Add in a few sprigs of fresh oregano, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Serve with pasta, polenta, etc. and enjoy.

Serves six-eight
*I used small carrots, but only use 2 if yours are large.

Thursday, December 5

Delicata Squash, Pepita, & Baby Kale Salad

I serve a lot of salads during the spring and summer, but once winter hits I usually stick to getting my greens from cooked vegetable dishes. There are plenty of delicious vegetable soups and roasted sides out there to enjoy that I’ll forget about all the hearty winter salads I could make. This particular dish is inspired by a starter I had at Gjelina a few weeks ago, although I changed up the ingredients to use ones I like best. The basic thought is mixing together a hearty, leafy green, still-warm roasted squash, crunchy seeds, and salty cheese. My version is full of crispy delicata squash, crunchy pepitas (pumpkin seeds), tangy goat cheese, and tender baby kale. I go heavy on everything but the greens so it’s filling enough to work as a lunch salad or as a substantial dinner side. 

Related Recipes:
- Lentil, Butternut Squash, & Goat Cheese Salad
- Kale RibbonSalad with Roasted Garlic Dressing & Parmesan
- Mixed Green Salad with Squash & Prosciutto

Delicata Squash, Goat Cheese, Pepita, & Baby Kale Salad:
For Dressing
  • Whisk together 1 tsp. Dijon mustard with 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Slowly whisk in 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil until emulsified. Set aside.
For Salad
  • Scrub the skin of 1 small delicata squash, trim off the ends, and cut in half lengthwise.
  • Scoop the seeds outside of center, then slice each half into 1/4"-1/8" thin half moons.
  • Toss the squash with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet.
  • Roast the squash in a 400F oven for 15 minutes, or until browned and the edges are crispy.
  • Add 1/2 c. of raw pepitas* to the baking tray for the last 2 minutes of cooking.
  • Let the squash and pepitas cool for a few minutes, then add to a bowl with 4 c. baby kale.**
  • Add in 3-4 oz. of fresh crumbled goat cheese and the dressing.
  • Toss to combine and serve immediately.

Serves two (main dish)
Serves four-six (side dish)
*Shelled pumpkin seeds.
**Or any hearty baby green that you like.

Wednesday, December 4

Tagliatelle with Duck Ragu

One of my favorite things to do with leftover roasts and braises is to turn the meat into a ragu. In fact, I often make a big roast just so that I can rework the leftovers in a luscious, meaty sauce. This version starts as basic tomato sauce before folding in a generous amount of roasted duck. I like using a wide noodle like tagliatelle, which sucks up a lot of the liquid in the sauce and stands up to rich duck. It’s a comforting, rib-sticking meal that is perfect for the holidays. Leftovers are even more flavorful the next day, but I’d suggest moistening the pasta with a few tablespoons of water before reheating.

Related Recipes:
- Penne with Pork Ragu
- Slow-Roasted Whole Duck
- Spaghetti with Lamb Ragu

Tagliatelle with Duck Ragu:
  • Heat 1 tbsp. duck fat in a heavy pot or small dutch oven.
  • Add in 1 diced onion, 1 diced stalk of celery, and 2 small diced carrots and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until softened and starting to brown. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add in 1 tbsp. tomato paste and cook for another minute, then add in 1/2 c. red wine and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Let the wine reduce by half, then add in a 26 oz. can of crushed tomatoes and 1 1/2 c. of cooked, shredded duck.*
  • Let the sauce come to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Check for seasoning.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, season generously with salt, and cook 1 lb. of tagliatelle pasta until al dente.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1 c. of pasta cooking liquid.
  • Add the pasta to the sauce, along with half of the cooking water.
  • Toss to combine, adding more water if necessary to moisten.
  • Toss in 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese, then divide onto plates.
  • Serve with extra grated Parmesan on top.

Serves four - five
*I used half a duck's worth of meat and leftovers from this roasted duck.

Tuesday, December 3

Pecan Pie

The perfect pecan pie with a sweet and nutty filling surrounded by a buttery crust

Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is one of my all-time favorite holiday desserts and this recipe is pretty close to perfect. Some pecan pies can be too sweet, but this one has the right balance and gets a little added flavor from the bourbon in the filling. I used the all butter pastry recipe from The Smitten Kitchen cookbook which takes just a minute to come together in the food processor and can last in the fridge for several days before rolling it out. It serves as a flaky, buttery container for the chewy, nutty filling. I like to serve it warm with vanilla ice cream.

More Recipes for Pies & Tarts:

Pecan Pie:
- 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 stick + 5 tbsp. cold butter, diced
- 2 c. chopped pecans
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 3/4 c. light corn syrup
- 2 tbsp. bourbon
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 c. ice cold water
- 1/2 tbsp. white sugar
- 1 tsp. salt

For Crust
  • Pulse all-purpose flour, white sugar and 1/2 tsp. salt in a food processor until combined.
  • Pulse in 1 stick cold butter until the butter is the size of peas.
  • Slowly stir in ice cold water until the dough just barely comes together to form a ball.
  • Flatten dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least one hour* in the fridge.
For Filling
  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Roll out the pie dough to 1/8" thick and place in a 9" pie dish. Crimp the edges and trim any excess dough from the sides.
  • Fill the pie with pie weights or dried beans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until barely golden.
  • Meanwhile, toast chopped pecans in a dry skillet for 2-3 minutes, or until warm and nutty smelling.
  • In a small sauce pot, bring 5 tbsp. butter, brown sugarlight corn syrup, and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the pecans, bourbon, and 2 vanilla extract and let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Whisk in eggs and pour the filling into the pie dough.
  • Lower the oven to 350F and bake for 40 minutes, or until filling is set and just slightly jiggly.
  • Let pie cool on a baking rack before slicing.

Serves eight-ten
*If you're in a rush, you can cool it in the freezer for 20 minutes instead.

Monday, December 2

Mexican Turkey Soup

One of my favorite things to do with a lazy day is simmer a big pot of soup - something easy that doesn't require a lot of babysitting but will yield a delicious dinner when it's done cooking. This Mexican turkey soup is basically a simple broth with shredded meat that gets most of its excitement from the numerous toppings and add-ons. The broth only has two ingredients: water and the carcass from our Thanksgiving turkey, but manages to have a rich turkey flavor that really makes this dish. The recipe is heavily based on a chicken tortilla soup recipe I shared a couple years ago, so feel free to adapt your broth to that method if you don't have a leftover turkey carcass hanging around. It's a warm, satisfying bowl of goodness that will fill you up without weighing you down.

P.S. I make all my soups in my Sur La Table dutch oven, which is on sale today for Cyber Monday!

Related Recipes:
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Turkey Enchiladas
- Turkey Noodle Soup

Mexican Turkey Soup:
  • Place a turkey carcass from a 16 lb. cooked turkey* in a large dutch oven and cover with water.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 4 hours.
  • Remove the turkey and strain the broth into a bowl to remove any solids.
  • Place the broth back in a pot over low heat and skim any fat off the top.**
  • Add 2 c. cooked, shredded turkey to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes, or until warm.
  • Ladle soup in bowls and stir in 1 tsp. (or more, depending on desired spice level) of canned chipotle peppers in adobo into each. Add a squeeze of fresh lime to each soup.
  • Garnish soup with crispy tortilla strips, fresh cilantro, diced avocado, cubed mozzarella cheese, etc.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.***

Serves six-eight
*I removed some large pieces of skin and reserved any big remaining pieces of meat for shredding and adding to the soup after.
**Broth can be made in advance and will keep in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for several months.
***Leftover soup (sans garnish) can be kept in the fridge for a few days.