Rustic Apple, Pear & Quince Crostata with Ginger & Gruyere Crust

Thanksgiving calls for a serious pie.

Apple pie is always a favorite, but this seems to have been my most ambitious Thanksgiving ever. The usual favorites simply would not do this year. So I consulted my seasonal produce cards to find some suitable companions for my Granny Smiths.

Rustic Apple, Pear & Quince Crostata with Ginger & Gruyere Crust

Pears were a natural choice, with their similar cooking times and complementary flavors. So what goes with apples and pears? Cheese? Oh totally. So let’s throw some Applewood-smoked gruyere (regular will work just fine too, the older the better) in the crust dough. Ginger? Now we’re talking. A sprinkling of diced crystallized ginger inside the crust should spice things up a bit.

But I have also been crushing out on some quince pie recipes from the November 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living  for some time, and I had been dying to give quince a chance.

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Pies a makin’ | Daily Instagram

Pies a makin'

Two pies this year: one sweet potato, one rustic crostada. I cannot wait to eat these. And see how my original pie dough recipe turns out!

Applejack-Spiked Cranberry Sauce

In my family, one of the most cherished items on the table for the holidays are the brandied cranberries.

It’s basically just from scratch cranberry sauce with a bunch of brandy tossed in when they’re cool so it doesn’t cook off. That means it needs to sit for a few days to let the flavors meld at for the stuff not to taste like straight up booze.

Applejack-Spiked Cranberry Sauce

I added my own little spin by adding a few spicy notes with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and substituting my favorite holiday booze, applejack.

Get ready to give thanks to that most American of fruits, the apple (despite it getting its start where Borat is from – but hey, most of us are transplants here), and its magical ability to give us sweetness, sustenance, and intoxication. And to turn your Thanksgiving cranberry sauce up to 11.

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Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes should be a crime. Especially with these potatoes.

I have been making the very same mashed potatoes for a decade now (with the more recent addition of caramelized shallots), and every year it’s a battle to make enough for there to be any leftovers, let alone enough to go around. And that’s a shame, because these potatoes actually get better with time.

Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes

 

After a few days in the refrigerator, the metric shit ton of roasted garlic and shallots seeps into the very being of those potatoes. Just heat them up, add an extra blob of butter, and enjoy the amped up deliciousness.

These potatoes are a lumpy smashed variety, using red-skinned potatoes for their more durable texture. We’re looking for meaty potatoes, not fluffy. And yes, you leave the skins on. Not a fan of the skins? They’re good for you, just eat them.

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Cranberry Orange Horseradish Relish

My mom has been making this horseradish cranberry relish every time we make turkey for years upon years. It is spicy, sweet, earthy, and a little crunchy, because it is all raw.

This relish is fantastic on turkey or ham on Thanksgiving or Christmas, and even better on sandwiches made from the leftovers.

Cranberry Orange Horseradish Relish

I used fresh horseradish here instead of the jarred variety – if you can get your hands on a root, don’t take the shortcut on this one. It is good either way, but there is still no comparison. Some orange zest brightens the tart cranberries, and the white pepper adds complexity to the spice of the horseradish.

Although this can be eaten after a few hours in a pinch, give the flavors as much time to meld as you can. It just keeps getting better.

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