I was asked by someone today at lunch whether I had baked any pies lately. Without hesitation I said, “Actually, I’ve been baking cheesecakes throughout the holidays.” It’s true. I’ve baked a Classic Black Tie Cheesecake, a Cinnamon Pecan variation, and I even managed to bake mini citrus cheesecakes topped off with jam. I also baked a pumpkin cheesecake with a ginger molasses crust at a Thanksgiving party we hosted. When I set the pumpkin cheesecake out it literally disappeared in five minutes, and there were many people kicking themselves for not grabbing a slice right away. At Thanksgiving with our family I served mini sweet potato cheesecakes topped with homemade caramel and a pecan instead of the traditional pumpkin or sweet potato pie.
This Christmas I will be making this Bananas Foster Cheesecake. It is a vanilla cheesecake with a gingersnap crust as its base, and is one of my all-time favorite desserts to serve friends and family because of the wonderful brown sugar sauce. The sauce is infused with cinnamon and rum and poured generously over the top along with sliced ripe bananas. These distinct unique flavors and textures harmoniously collide for a memorable bite that is savored slowly and enjoyed thoroughly. [click to continue…]
Am I the only one still recovering from Thanksgiving? Seriously, it was less than two weeks ago we were roasting two turkeys with all the fix-ins. I also made two homemade cheesecakes that vanished within minutes, then I was up at 4:00 AM for Black Friday. Now my mind is struggling to switch gears to Christmas, which is 15 days away. Hello!? Fifteen days. All I can say is, thank goodness for online shopping and next day shipping! With all this said, I know many of you are busy too and may be looking for easy holiday tips and inspiration to help you celebrate the holidays without compromising your traditions. [click to continue…]
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I imagine many of you are frantically getting your homes ready for guests to arrive tomorrow while simultaneously cooking. If you have the privilege of roasting the turkey and you’ve never done this, you might be feeling a bit stressed out about how to do this because when it comes down to it, you do not want to serve dry flavorless slices of the most important main dish of the day.
There is no need to panic or even stress about this. It’s actually very simple and once you’ve mastered this, you will be able to roast a turkey with confidence for years to come. [click to continue…]
Once you make homemade cranberry sauce, you never go back. Never, ever. It dawned on me one year how odd it is to put so much effort into this huge elaborate meal where the turkey causes so much stress because it is the one time of year people who never roast meat actually do go through the process from buying a turkey to roasting it in the oven. The sense of accomplishment a home cook feels when this bird comes out of the oven looking like it does on the cover of a magazine is something one never forgets, similar to the memory and feeling a new first time mom feels when she gives birth to her first child. It’s like, “Wow, I did it!” But this is what irks me. It irks me to see canned cranberry sauce spooned into a bowl looking rather gelatinous next to a beautiful roasted turkey. I think to myself, “Why!??” Followed by, “How sad.” Just seems strange to have canned sauce on the table after all the work someone puts into roasting a turkey. And I realize some people like canned sauce. Fair enough. I like store-bought things too, guilty pleasures. But seriously, homemade cranberry sauce is so damn easy to make and tastes so much better than what you can buy in a can, it just seems so obvious to make it from scratch. [click to continue…]
Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without a nice heaping scoop of mashed potatoes and gravy along with a generous helping of stuffing to go with it. Am I right or am I right?
When it comes to stuffing, or dressing as some call it I only have two odd stories to share with you. My earliest memory of eating stuffing comes from many family gatherings at an all you can eat buffet called Royal Fork. There we were, all 30 of us. When you’re young and hungry, a trip to Royal Fork felt like a feast fit for…. royalty. The whole concept of an all you can eat American food buffet back then seemed pretty awesome. And every time we went, I would always get 2nds and 3rds of stuffing and mashed potatoes along with fried chicken and “graveyard” sodas. I could go on and on about my adventures at this restaurant but I will spare you the details. Moving on. My second memory of stuffing has all to do with my mom’s Thanksgiving stuffing. It was pretty basic in every way but because my mom made it, it was also very special. [click to continue…]