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One-Pan Crispy Chicken with Buttery Lemony Mushroom Orzo

This one-pan wonder combines crispy-skinned chicken, baked directly on top of buttery, lemony orzo, studded with wild mushrooms, leeks and baby spinach. It’s a complete (and completely delicious) dinner, made in a single skillet. 

Sticky Toffee Pudding (warm date cake)

Sticky toffee pudding is a hallowed British dessert which translates to American as “warm date cake drizzled with toffee sauce”. Either way you say it, it’s a deliciously rich and comforting treat, perfect for a chilly evening. 

Classic British Pork Pies

Your classic British cold pork lunch pie – seasoned pork and aspic in a firm and thoroughly tasty hot water crust pastry. It’s a process befitting a Tudor kitchen, but making these Melton Mowbray-style pork pies is way easier – and more fun! – than you might expect.

Miso Glazed Crispy-Skinned Salmon

Miso Glazed Crispy-Skinned Salmon

If you’ve never cooked with miso, this is a fantastic recipe to start with. While many Americans are probably familiar with miso in it’s soup form, it’s also a fantastic ingredient in all kinds of dishes, from savory to sweet. It’s great in salad dressings, drizzled on roasted vegetables (try this same glaze on eggplant, yum).

One of the great aspects of miso is that it keeps for ages in the fridge (seriously, months and months), so you won’t have to go on a miso bender just so you won’t waste it. I mean, you’ll probably go on a miso bender anyway because the stuff is delicious but it won’t be for economic reasons.

This salmon dish is what I use miso for most often (and how I love it best). The glaze is delicate and doesn’t overwhelm the fish and the skin gets wonderfully burnished and crisp. It also takes just a few minutes to make so it’s a fantastic weeknight option. Quick or not, for me, this is one of the best salmon recipes of all time. I could have it twice a week, happily.

You’ll want to use white (also known as sweet) miso for this. Red miso, which is fermented for a much longer time, has too strong a flavor and would overpower the fish. I usually serve it with steamed rice (sometimes white, sometimes brown) and my go-to with everything Pickled Cucumber and Avocado Salad. I didn’t have cucumbers last night so we just made a quick salad of avocado, arugula and baby kale drizzled with lime.

Oh, and Matt wanted me to make sure to mention that this is his favorite fish recipe of all time. He says that about a lot of recipes (good husband), but I could tell he really meant it.

Miso Glazed Crispy-Skinned Salmon

Hazelnut Praline Cheesecake

Hazelnut Praline Cheesecake

Hazelnut cheesecake with praline crust is a crowd-pleasing dessert that will make your dinner guests love you until the end of time, or until the end of the cheesecake, whichever comes first. 
Hazelnut Cheesecake with PralineI’m pretty sure Matt moved from London to New York mostly for the cheesecake. It is by far his favorite dessert so of course, good wife that I am, I’ve learned to make them.

Actually, funny story, ahem… many years ago, when we were first living together, we tried to make a cheesecake and we totally mis-read the recipe. Instead of 3/4 of a cup of sugar we used 3 cups. 3 friggin’ cups of sugar in one cheesecakeNeither of us had done a lot of baking yet so we didn’t immediately realize how insane that amount is. Needless to say, it was disgustingly sweet and even worse, never even set, remaining a thick, sweet soup that seeped all over our refrigerator. It was truly disgusting (though Matt gave it a go anyway, being a trooper).

Now we got that shizz down to a science (Matt is cleaning his glasses on his shirt while explaining to me that baking, is in fact, science). We became quite well known (in our family) for making a chestnut cheesecake (based on a Nigella recipe) and we actually made 4 of them for Matt’s sister’s wedding in France.

While I like chestnuts, I love hazelnuts so this version of hazelnut cheesecake (adapted from Bon Appétit) is now our Thanksgiving/Christmas favorite. I’ve changed the recipe quite a bit, eliminating the flour and folded in whipped egg whites from the batter. The result is a very classic cheesecake texture, with the added bit of crunch from the hazelnut praline.

What I like about hazelnut cheesecake (other than its decadent deliciousness) is that it has to be made a least a day in advance which makes it perfect for holiday baking when you don’t want to have to deal with last minute dessert timing. In fact, the praline part can be made up to a full week in advance.

Hazelnut Cheesecake with Praline

Bread Pudding with Sausage, Apples and Sage

Bread Pudding with Sausage, Apples and Sage

Bread Pudding with Sausage, Apples and SageThis started off as a  Thanksgiving “stuffing” recipe but then, several years ago, I decided that actually stuffing a turkey is a losing battle. It makes the turkey take longer to cook so the white meat will definitely dry out and all the delicious drippings that I want to go into the gravy get soaked up by the bread which just becomes soggy.

Technically I guess this is a “dressing” (stuffing cooked on the side), but I’ve found that many dressing recipes end up kind of dry and don’t have the lovely, soft texture with crispy edges that make stuffing so irresistible.

So what’s soft and custardy on the inside and crunchy on top? Don’t freak out, I’m not testing you! *Writes a note in a little book while smiling and nodding at you*.  That’s right, bread pudding! Why not use the same technique and make it savory instead of sweet? Let me tell you, it works.

While this is definitely great for Thanksgiving, it would actually be a really nice side dish with roast beef or pork as a Christmas dinner. In fact, it’s so simple to make, it really doesn’t need to be for a holiday at all.

Like just about everything I make for a dinner party, most of it can be made ahead and then assembled and baked just before you need it. I find it so much less stressful to not have to start every dish from scratch on one day.

In fact, my absolute favorite part of holiday cooking is when Matt and I sit at our coffee table, chopping and prepping all our vegetables while watching a marathon of something or other (usually Doctor Who or Game of Thrones) and drinking endless cups of tea. Nerd with knife heaven.

Bread Pudding with Sausage, Apples and Sage

Cranberry Sauce with Cointreau

Cranberry Sauce with Cointreau

A cranberry sauce holds the Thanksgiving dishes together but you don’t want to spend too much time on it. Our recipe is quick and delicious.

Cranberry Sauce with CointreauHappy Thanksgivukkah everyone!

This is going to be a quick post because we’re in the midst of Thanksgiving cooking madness and if I’m gone too long, Matt will glaze the dog and confit the chickens.

If you haven’t made your cranberry sauce yet (don’t panic, there’s still time!), this is a very simple, tasty recipe that is ready in minutes. You’ll want to cool it before serving and next year, you can make it up to 4 days ahead.

This is a great place to use Cointreau (orange liquor) if you have it, but Triple Sec is a fine, much more affordable alternative.

You’re aiming for a balance of tartness (more berries) and sweetness (more sugar) – it’s not a bad idea to have extra of both on hand in case you decide you want to shift the taste either way.

 

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy with Calvados (Apple Brandy)

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy with Calvados (Apple Brandy)

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy with Calvados (Apple Brandy)

For the last few years, my Thanksgiving philosophy has been “Everything that CAN be made ahead SHALL be made ahead”. I developed this philosophy (religion?) several years ago when Matt and I decided to make Thanksgiving for 13 people in our teeny, tiny Brooklyn kitchen. Our oven could barely fit a normal-sized turkey, let alone anything else at the same time.  We made just about everything we could possibly make days ahead and heated things up while the turkey was resting.

Now we have a normal (ginormous, for us) kitchen, but the make-ahead strategy is still as useful as ever. That is what I love about this gravy (besides its heavenly flavor). I don’t know about you, but for me, the 10 minutes before serving Thanksgiving dinner are the most chaotic and I really don’t want to be measuring flour and reducing stock right at the last minute.

That’s why I really like this method. A few days ahead (or even a week or two), I make stock and from that stock, I make the gravy “base”. Then on Thanksgiving day, I reheat it (the longer it simmers, the better) and when the turkey’s done, I deglaze the roasting pan with some wine and add it to the already simmering gravy. Done! So much easier, seriously.

This gravy has a delicious touch of apple-y sweetness from the Calvados and apple cider. You could substitute Apple Jack, which is a really nice American equivalent and is a lot more affordable. I adapted a Barefoot Contessa recipe which has finely chopped onions in the base. Obviously this will give the gravy some texture so if you like it perfectly smooth, just use an immersion blender (or a regular blender) to puree it.

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