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It has been way too long since I’ve made a pizza! Trader Joe’s pizza crust makes it too easy not to, and it’s also really fun and easy to have a pizza party. I had half a bunch of kale left over from my Thanksgiving quiche, and was looking up recipes for inspiration. I came across a pizza recipe on epicurious with mozzarella, goat cheese, and kale. I threw on some capers (because I will never say no to a caper on a pizza) and lots of red pepper flakes. Delish! Plus, all the greens mitigate the damage from the cheese. Trust me.

Sauceless pizzas are the best, just brush a slick of olive oil on thinly rolled out crust, and top as you please. I sauteed the kale until nice and tender with just a bit of salt, and used about 8 oz. of mozzarella and 2 oz. of goat cheese. Added a tablespoon of chopped capers for tang. Cooked at 450 on just a regular cookie sheet (look, I’d love a pizza stone but I only have so much room in my kitchen) for about 20 minutes and it was good to go.

Usually, all you have to say is “browned butter” and I’m game. But browned butter muffins swirled with leftover cranberry sauce? Even better than you can imagine. Gemma’s cranberry sauce (more of a relish, really) had the advantage of including lots of fresh ginger, thus making these muffins a perfect storm of bright cranberry, spicy ginger, and nutty browned butter and pecans.

The only adjustment I made to this Serious Eats recipe was to include about 1/2 cup of chopped, toasted pecans to the mix, stirred in at the last minute. Of course I couldn’t resist topping with a lovely pecan half either, but that’s more for aesthetics than anything. Beware the directions in this recipe — they don’t actually tell you when to add the salt, so don’t forget! I reduced the salt to about 3/4 t. because 1 t. seemed a bit much for only 12 muffins. Mine weren’t any worse for the wear, either.

If you have some useless, jellied cranberry sauce just languishing in your fridge (I bet you do!), then this is the perfect recipe for you. And if you don’t, it’s almost worth making cranberry sauce just for this purpose. If your sauce is more traditional and lacking in fresh ginger or other strong flavors, I might add some orange zest to give these a bit of extra zing.

 

I didn’t manage to fully document the day of cooking. I’ll be honest, lighting and taking pictures while dealing with not enough surface area in your kitchen, washing the same dishes 10 times, and trying not to burn /ruin anything is a tall order. Once again, we made an obscene amount of food for 5 people, but hey, I’m going to live on those leftovers for the next 4 days so it’ll be perfect. I am definitely a sneak-a-bit-of-pie-with-the-fridge-door-open-and-no-utensils kind of person and not ashamed.

You’d think that all the cooking I’ve done in the last couple of weeks (most of which undocumented here) would leave me longing for take-out and slices of pizza and no dishes. But honestly, it’s made me want to cook more. Particularly, as is the theme of this blog, for the purpose of sharing. It’s the best kind of satisfaction to make something from scratch to enjoy with friends and loved ones. I’ve got some browned butter cranberry muffins on the docket if we’ve still got cranberry sauce around in a couple of days, and pizza with chard and goat cheese and chili oil too. I’ve got salted caramels on the brain and fresh baked bread and roasted squash. If there’s one thing that’s a-okay about the impending cold, it’s that I’ll be more than happy to be cozied up at home leaning over a hot stove with a glass of wine in hand.

So here’s to baking season, to the holidays (as much as they stress us out) and to not forgetting to be thankful all the time, not just when there’s a turkey in the oven. It may sound trite, but when everyone is saying how thankful they are in their facebook status updates, it can’t seem that off-kilter!

 

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving! This is my favorite holiday (do you wonder why?). I was literally dreaming of cooking Thanksgiving last night — although in my dream I was making Empanadas. Random. Right now I’m drinking coffee with Charlie Brown on in the background, soon I’ll put on Home for the Holidays, by far my favorite holiday movie. I think I’ve watched it approximately 50 times by now, but somehow it never gets old.

Anyway, Gemma and I are about to be cooking up a storm — here’s what’s on the menu for our (Vegetarian) Thanksgiving:

Appetizers
Baked Brie (wrapped in crescent roll dough with caramelized onions. this one’s a tradition for us.)
Rosemary Cashews
Roasted Fennel Dip with Parmesan

Main
Leek and Swiss Chard Tart

Sides (it’s all about the sides, let’s not even pretend otherwise)
Mashed Potatoes
Brussels Sprouts two ways – roasted with hazelnuts & hashed
Arugula Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, Goat Cheese and Pickled Red Onions
Angel Biscuits with Cranberry Butter
Stuffing with Mushrooms, Sage and Chestnuts
Cranberry Relish

Dessert
Spiced Pumpkin Pie
I’m also debating whether to make these Cranberry Curd Bars because they sound SO GOOD.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

OK time to freak outttttt! I’m back! (and just in time for Thanksgiving).

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cooked something in the past few months and thought “I should take a picture of this” and just didn’t. I didn’t have my camera for about a month, but that’s no excuse, since I do have my iPhone camera after all. I also no longer have a computer at home, which complicates things…but I’ve just gotten a new work laptop that I think I’ll have with me a lot more (mostly because I have to work more, but let’s just pretend it’s because I like the computer). All that to say, no more excuses, I’m going to try to post at least a couple times a week. I mean, it’s baking season and Thanksgiving season and I’m drooling just thinking of all the pies I’m going to make and I hate just leaving this thing languishing out there in the vast internet wasteland.

So what started out as “I’m sick, I’m going to make soup” turned into a fall feast — don’t worry, this was a couple weeks ago, so not totally competing with Thanksgiving’s feastiness. When Gemma and I cook, we COOK if you know what I mean. I made a tomato fennel soup (a variation on one I’ve made many times before), and she made a fall panzanella salad from smitten kitchen, and then I made a sweet potato buttermilk pie, also courtesy of Deb. Seriously, when I feel too crap to go outside, sometimes whisking is the only thing that makes me feel better. This pie is incredibly light and fluffy, like a souffle. It’s tart and not too sweet thanks to the buttermilk, and the spices hearken back to my favorite of all pies, pumpkin. This is a great option for Thanksgiving, and the lightness would be an added benefit on a day when your stomach usually feels like it’s full of bricks by the time it’s all over.

I also FINALLY just watched Julie & Julia, so I am feeling a bit more motivated to blog (look, I’m under no illusion that Amanda Hesser is going to come knocking on my door any time soon, or that I’ll be in the New York Times, but a girl can dream about a book advance right?). I’m also not going to be deboning a whole duck either, but that’s ok. I’ve actually returned (mostly) to my vegetarian roots lately for a plethora of reasons that I won’t go into here, so this entire meal is vegetarian. And, did I mention, totally awesomely delicious?? The garlic parmesan croutons in the salad alone are enough to make me weep with joy. Recipe for the soup after the jump, salad here and pie here.

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