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Creamy Mushroom Soup with Black Rice

Delectable, creamy winter soup created from a blend of mushrooms, herbs, and wild rice — this is our choice for an easy and healthy vegetarian or even vegan supper that highlights the variety and richness of the fungi kingdom.  

Ultimate English Toffee

It’s Christmas, so it’s time for toffee! English toffee, that is, made the proper, scientific way, and coated with either milk chocolate and almonds, or white chocolate and pistachios. Or both! A double-whammy of sweet holiday delight.

Real, Homemade Egg Nog

Rich, creamy, and unapologetically boozy, this is an egg nog whose virtues are sung by poets. Probably. Once they’ve had a few. 

Creamy Mushroom Soup with Black Rice

Delectable, creamy winter soup created from a blend of mushrooms, herbs, and wild rice — this is our choice for an easy and healthy vegetarian or even vegan supper that highlights the variety and richness of the fungi kingdom.  

Ultimate English Toffee

It’s Christmas, so it’s time for toffee! English toffee, that is, made the proper, scientific way, and coated with either milk chocolate and almonds, or white chocolate and pistachios. Or both! A double-whammy of sweet holiday delight.

Real, Homemade Egg Nog

Rich, creamy, and unapologetically boozy, this is an egg nog whose virtues are sung by poets. Probably. Once they’ve had a few. 

Sweet and Spicy Candied Peanuts

Sweet and Spicy Candied Peanuts

Sweet and Spicy Candied Peanuts

Ah, nuts! These Sweet and Spicy Candied Peanuts strike the perfect balance of sweet and heat. They’re great for snacking or for adding a special touch to soups or salads. 

I initially made these candied peanuts because I wanted something extra fancy to top our Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup. While I love croutons, they didn’t seem quite right for this for some reason. So it needed to be crunchy and salty of course, but also with a little sweetness. And it needed to be savory too, something that wouldn’t get lost in the rich flavor of the soup.

I know, I know. So demanding. Nothing could deliver all those things at once, right? Wrong!

Spicy curry candied nuts do and they’re a cinch to make.

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

The sweet and spicy nuts are a perfect topping for the rich, smooth soup.

So … from these humble beginnings comes the greatest snack food in the history of pretty much everything. I’m not even kidding. Candied peanuts are unbelievably good.

The crunchy coating has that perfect balance of salty and sweet, and an almost toffee-like flavor from the mix of white and brown sugars that caramelize in the oven. The savory heat comes from a mix of spices, including Madras curry powder, cayenne pepper, cumin and cinnamon. These are not sear-your-tongue spicy, more like a warm heat but you should definitely put your own spin on it.

Spices for Candied Nuts

Clockwise from top: granulated garlic, cumin, coarse salt, cinnamon, cayenne and Madras curry powder.

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash soup kicked up with Thai curry flavor and served with sweet and spicy candied peanuts. Want a soup that’ll warm you up? This is it.

I was vegetarian for most of my twenties and though I eat (ethically-raised, organic) meat now, I wouldn’t have that much trouble giving it up. On the other hand, I was vegan for about 45 minutes and almost lost my mind craving cheese.

I admit that I’m slightly weird with dairy. The thought of drinking a glass of milk makes me shudder with horror, but cheesy pastas and creamy soups are my comfort foods of choice. It would take a lot for me to say goodbye to them forever.

This soup is absolutely comfort food in the best way but, surprise! It also happens to be vegan. Yes, vegan. The trick (if it could even be called that) is to combine silky puréed butternut squash with creamy, rich coconut milk. The texture becomes as smooth as bisque, without a drop of dairy.

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Apple Tarts with Rosemary-Lime Sugar

Apple Tarts with Rosemary-Lime Sugar

Apple Tarts with Rosemary-Lime Sugar

Apple Tarts with Rosemary-Lime Sugar

These crisp and tasty apple tarts are a great way to use up your fall bounty; using frozen puff pastry makes the whole process a lot easier, and they’re finished with rosemary-lime sugar.

It happens every year in the Hudson Valley, where we live. As soon as the leaves on the maple trees turn a ridiculous shade of red, we, residents and tourists alike, don our coziest sweaters and follow the scent of hot cider doughnuts to the nearest orchard. Once there we wander the grounds, hopped up on cinnamon sugar and crisp autumn air, filling baskets and gunny sacks with more Empires, Cortlands and Jonagold apples than anyone who doesn’t work in a pie factory would ever need.

Only once when we’re home and realize we need to put an addition on the house in order to store our haul, do we admit that maybe we’ve bought just a few too many. And just when I thought we’d succeeded in using our bounty, one of Matt’s local clients sent him home with a massive box of Golden Delicious apples from the tree in her yard. Oh well, we’ll just have to start working on that Salted Caramel Apple Pie idea I’ve been thinking about. #HudsonValleyProblems #AppleHumbleBrag

Rosemary-Lime Sugar

Rosemary-Lime Sugar

Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Crispy Sage (and Sausage)

Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Crispy Sage (and Sausage)

Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Crispy Sage (and Sausage)

Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Crispy Sage (and Sausage)

I’m not sure why but I used to think of risotto as a big complicated project. Somehow I got it in my head that you absolutely must make your own stock and add it a thimbleful at a time and stir and stir and stir and if you stop stirring for even a second, the whole thing turns to garbage.

None of that is true.

While it is true that the better the stock is, the better your risotto will be, there are a lot of ways to impart flavor into the dish using simple, everyday ingredients.

And while I’ve never had great results from simply pouring in all the stock at once, the process is a lot less delicate and precise than you might think.

The rice itself should take less than 20 minutes to go from raw to beautifully creamy and al dente. Even including the time it takes to cook the mushrooms, that’s well within the realm of an easy weeknight dinner.

Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Crispy Sage

The crispy sage adds a great flavor and texture. For a VEGETARIAN version, use good vegetable stock. Look for note below on tips for making a VEGAN version.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Garlic and Olives

Braised Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Garlic and Olives

Braised Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Garlic and Olives

We follow our time-tested one-pan skillet chicken method to make these crispy thighs with lemon, olives and garlic. 

If you follow this blog at all, I have a pretty good idea what you’re thinking. And yes, I admit it. I make pan-roasted chicken a lot. Like, a lot a lot.

Examples: Chicken With Lime, Garlic And Cilantro / Chicken With Lemon, Garlic And Basil / Skillet Chicken With Wine, Shallots And Mustard.

But it’s not just because I’m boring. It’s also because this method is a simple and fool-proof way to get perfect chicken with crispy skin and tender meat, every time. Luckily, it happens to be extremely versatile so though the method may be similar, the flavors are completely distinct.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Garlic and Olives

I love the color of the bright green olives with the dark onions and lemons.

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