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All About the Sides

Posted on: Tuesday, November 25, 2014

On Thanksgiving, while the turkey is the star of the show, to us the sides are just as important. Looking to spice up your traditional menu this year? Here are a few of our favorite vegetarian sides that will surely impress...
Bohemian Squash Salad- Caramelized beautifully when roasted, and fanned atop a bed of greens, the colorful delicata squash adds a whimsical touch to your Thanksgiving salad.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Cubes with Zest Aioli- This colorful dish is our favorite combination of bold, roasted vegetables with a cool and creamy dipping sauce.
Pumpkin Arancini- While we often associate pumpkins with pies, sweet loaves, and cheesecakes, why not try a savory take with these crispy fried risotto balls?
Sauteed Tri-Color Cauliflower- Strong, salty flavors complement cauliflower, so we add anchovies (trust us on this one!) and toasted bread crumbs for a hearty and vibrant side.
Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca- With the addition of earthy eggplant, a sprinkling of fresh chopped basil and Parmesan cheese, it’s our Italian touch to a Thanksgiving feast.
Ruby Beet Ribbon Salad With a Balsamic Vinaigrette, dots of tangy goat cheese, nutty almonds and red onion, we love this new spin on a classic side.
Only two days to go!

Beedles, Beet Noodles

Posted on: Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Taking advantage of ICA Free Thursday Nights last week, I strolled across the Old Northern Avenue bridge to checkout the new exhibit, Fiber: Sculpture 1960 - Present. The exhibit showcases thirty-three innovative artists in the 1960s who tested the limits of fiber by using it as a medium in sculpture. Upon walking into the gallery, I was overcome by a sea of vibrant colors, soft textures, and bold shapes. My favorite piece was Sheila Hicks' Pillar of Inquiry/Supple Column, a waterfall of fiber spirals and clinging lines streaming from the ceiling and cascading on the floor below.
I left the museum with colors swirling in my mind and was inspired to channel this creative energy into cooking. Like Kara, in anticipation of Thanksgiving, I plan to revamp a classic dish. Kara and I often serve an array of roasted root vegetables at Thanksgiving, so figured why not manipulate garnet red beets by transforming them into spirals? I was recently gifted a spiralizer, so it was only appropriator to put the unique kitchen tool to use with Sheila Hicks as inspiration. I tossed the sweet “beedles” with a Balsamic Vinaigrette, dots of tangy goat cheese, nutty almonds and red onion for a new spin on a classic side.
Ruby Beet Ribbon Salad

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 c EVOO
3 T Balsamic vinegar
1 clove minced garlic
1 t Dijon mustard
salt and pepper throughout

8 medium-sized beets
1 c crumbled goat cheese
1 c toasted slivered almonds
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper throughout

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, whisk together the Balsamic Vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

Cut the ends off the beets, peel and spiralize. Toss the beet noodles with EVOO, salt and pepper, and place on a cooking sheet. Roast in the oven for 5-7 minutes until tender.

Once cooled, toss the beet ribbons with the Balsamic Vinaigrette in a large bowl. Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese, almonds, and red onions on top. Serves 4-6 sides.
I had a blast with the spiralizer and cannot wait to use it for new spins on other vegetables. Thanks so much for the gift, Linda!

Cinnamon, Caramel, Pumpkin...and Rum

Posted on: Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Among many things, Marni and I share a favorite holiday. It’s probably no surprise that it happens to be Thanksgiving- a celebration of family, friends, eating and indulging. After the epic afternoon feast, we set our sights on the tantalizing pies. Marni always seeks a piece of savory, flaky apple while I never stray far from a slice of velvety pumpkin. Last year in standard Twin Tastes fashion, we challenged ourselves to revamp the classic pumpkin dessert by whipping up some delightful Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. This year, I would like to revamp the classic once again.
As I looked at the auburn-colored tree outside my kitchen window this past weekend, the flavors and colors of fall resonated. My mind was swirling with cinnamon, caramel, and pumpkin spice as I experimented with dessert recipes. Every Christmas, Marni and I make our Mamö’s Berry Trifleso I thought why not concoct a pumpkin trifle for Thanksgiving? Trifles are the best dessert with layer upon layer of cake and cream, and a lovely alternative to pie. In our Christmas trifle, we always soak the Angel Food cake cubes in Grand Marnier. Following that kick, I decided to use Ryan & Wood Distilleries' Folly Cove Rum to infuse pumpkin cake. Between each layer of boozy cake, I heaped a fluffy spiced mascarpone cream. For a touch of sticky sweetness, I added tiny spoonfuls of Fat Toad Farm’s Cinnamon Goat’s Milk Caramel.
Cinnamon Spiced Pumpkin and Caramel Trifle

Pumpkin Cake (adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)
1 1/3 c flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t pumpkin spice
1/2 t cinnamon
3/4 c canned pumpkin puree, unsweetened
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a 13 x 9 baking pan with parchment. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices and set aside. In a separate bowl, whip the sugars and canned pumpkin with an electric mixer until smooth. While beating, stream in the vegetable oil and the eggs- one by one- until fully incorporated.

With a wooden spoon, gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown, about 19-20 minutes (keep an eye on the cake- it's quite thin!). Once cooled, cut the cake into 1-inch cubes.

Autumn Spiced Mascarpone Cream
1 c heavy cream
1 t vanilla extract
1 8 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2-3 T granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you like it!)
1 t cinnamon
1 t pumpkin spice
1/2 t salt

In a chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla extract and once incorporated, set aside. In a separate large bowl, add the mascarpone, sugar, and spices. Whisk until fully blended and creamy. In batches, fold in the whipped cream with a wooden spoon into the mascarpone mixture. Be gentle and do not over mix.

The Layers
8 Mason Jars
Pumpkin Cake cubes
1/3 c Ryan & Wood Distilleries’ Folly Cove Rum
1 c Fat Toad Farm’s Cinnamon Goat’s Milk Caramel (or your favorite caramel sauce)
Autumn Spiced Mascarpone Cream

Pour half a teaspoon of caramel sauce into each mason jar. Next, add three to four cubes of pumpkin cake, lightly pressing into place. Using a brush, lightly soak each cube of cake with rum. Drizzle with more caramel and top with a heaping spoonful of Autumn Spiced Mascarpone Cream. Repeat the above steps until you reach the top of the jar. Sprinkle the top of the Autumn Spiced Mascarpone Cream with a dusting of cinnamon. Makes 8 mason jars- with extra pumpkin cake to spare!

The individual layers can be made hours ahead of time and chilled in the refrigerator before enjoying. If you prefer to assemble the layers in one large trifle dish, by all means go ahead! Either way, you have a fantastic fall-themed finale.

Crispy Dip

Posted on: Thursday, November 6, 2014

Following Kara’s trend of fall entertaining, I had a few friends over to my apartment the other night for some vino and bites. At any local bar, I am always attracted to small, savory bites with creative dipping sauces. Whether it be roasted artichokes dipped in lemony butter sauce, or white potatoes served with a spicy tomato sauce (patatas bravas), it’s always a fun and interactive way to dine.
My fall equivalent was on the healthier side with roasted (instead of fried) Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes with a light aioli dipping sauce. Served with fun toothpicks, these shareable items are incredibly vibrant and super simple to prepare.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Cubes with Zest Aioli

20 Brussels Sprouts, cut in half
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch irregular cubes
1 t dried oregano
1 t garlic powder
salt and pepper throughout

3/4 c Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

Zesty Aioli
1/3 c mayonnaise
1 clove minced garlic
1 t lemon juice
1 T flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 t sriracha hot sauce

salt and pepper throughout

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

On a baking sheet, toss the Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes with a generous amount of EVOO, 1 t dried oregano, 1 t garlic powder, salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes until the veggies are browned and crispy. Some of the Brussels sprouts may become dark, but this will just intensify the flavor.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, 
sriracha hot sauce, salt and pepper. Pour into a cute dish and let meld in the refrigerator until ready to use. Place the dish on a platter and arrange the warm, crispy Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes around it. Sprinkle the Parmigiano Reggiano on top. Serve with toothpicks for dipping. Serves 4-6.

Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned

Posted on: Thursday, October 30, 2014

This past weekend, Cambridge Marni, South Boston Katie and Brooklyn Kimmy visited lucky me for a country getaway. We’ve had some fun road trips in our day. Whether it be driving cross country to Colorado, trudging through a blizzard to ski Gunstock, or traveling all dolled up to my recent wedding, good times, good music and good libations are always in store. On Saturday, we met at Jessica Tuesday’s for lunch where we caught up over pressed gourmet sandwiches and mugs of soup. Afterward, we strolled through Putnam’s Pumpkin Fair for some warm kettle corn, grabbed Shiloh dog for a walk through the foliage-filled woods, and ended the afternoon with an impromptu apple picking stop. That evening, we set out a spread of charcuterie and local cheeses, pulled pork (slow cooking all day) with apple slaw sliders, and roasted veggies with an aioli dip.
With Kimmy, the Queen of Old Fashioneds in the house, we knew what the drink of choice would be. To salute fall, the resultant deep orangey/auburn-hued Old Fashioned had warming scents of cinnamon and pumpkin and went down pretty easy over the course of the night. It eventually hit midnight as we watched The Shining with bowls of freshly baked apple crisp a la mode.
Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned (adapted from Saveur Magazine)

1 T pumpkin puree, unsweetened
1 T maple syrup
2 oz Bourbon Whiskey (we used Knob Creek)
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1 dash ground cinnamon
3 dashes orange bitters
orange peel spiral (with a paring knife), for garnish

In a glass filled shaker, add the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, bourbon, Grand Marnier and cinnamon. Shake vigorously and strain into a ice-filled glass. Top with 3 dashes of orange bitters and stir with a spoon. Float an orange peel twist on top. Makes 1 cocktail.

The perfect seasonal cocktail to get you in the autumn spirit. Happy Halloween! 

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