At the end of October we traveled to Seattle where I had a few book-related events. We turned it into a family vacation where Jon and Miren could experience real autumn weather and colors.
They took my breath away.
I had never been in Washington during October and from what I had gathered, there is a little bit of foliage but not as significant as the East. I must disagree. The city was bursting with golds, reds and ochres. We visited nearly every single city park and played with the multicolored leaves.
The foliage in Washington really is spectacular.
We took time to drive to Bellewood farm on a grey, damp and cold day. But you see, I love grey, damp and cold days. They remind me of the Basque Country in the winter where our noses were always red and rainboots a must.
Cold and damp feels comfortable to me.
We ran around the perfectly-lined orchard and picked a variety of apples that I later turned into a clafoutis on New Day Northwest.
This year has flown by right before my eyes and it is already Thanksgiving once again.
How did that happen? This speed scares me sometimes. I have always been good at multitasking and I take pride in doing so, but at times I feel many subtle details suffer and the way I experience the present can be affected. Could I say “watered down”? Perhaps.
But I am also very grateful for the opportunities, the challenges, the friendships and the liveliness.
Speaking of friendships….
This past April, my dear friend Amy Atlas published “Sweet Designs”. A book all things baking, crafing and design – the elements that have made her unique style so coveted. The book is full of colorful ideas and beautiful photography. I actually gifted many copies for Mother’s Day and I think it will make an inspired holiday gift as well.
We are spending Thanksgiving with friends this year, which I will not be hosting for once.
I had eyed Amy’s bread and cinnamon bread pudding recipe long time ago and here I am adapting it today to incorporate the last apples we picked in Bellingham and dried cranberries. We thoroughly enjoyed it and decided this is what I am bringing to our Thanksgiving dinner this year.
I plan on bringing several dishes but this red kuri squash, leek and pear soup will be one…
… as well as the roasted beet, caramelized onion and goat cheese tart.
I think I am good with side dishes.
I love sides.
Thank you everyone for your constant support and I wish you a happy Thanksgiving celebration.
Apple, cranberry and brioche bread pudding
adapted from “Sweet Designs” by Amy Atlas
makes 12 individual puddings
2 small Gala apples, cored and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for apples and pan
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
8 ounces (225 g) challah bread (I used the gluten-free brioche recipe from my book) cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 g) natural cane sugar
5 egg yolks
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
1 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1) Set oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat to 350F (180C). Butter a standard-size 12-cup muffin tin. Spread the brioche into a baking sheet and brush tops with melted butter. Bake until toasted, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
2) Heat a medium saute pan over medium high heat. Add a small dab of butter, diced apples and vanilla bean. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3) Whisk together 1/3 cup (66 g) natural cane sugar and 5 yolks in a bowl until combined. Whisk in cream, milk, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and salt. Fold in the toasted brioche, cranberries and cooked apples. Let mixyure sit for 10 minutes.
4) Divide among the cupcake cups. Let mixture rest for 10 minutes so brioche can fully soak up the custard. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and sprinkle in top. Bake until tops are golden and custard set.
5) Let puddings cool in pan. Run a sharp knife around each cup to release the pudding. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Red Kuri Squash, Leek and Pear Soup
serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium leek, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound (450 g) red kuri squash, seeded, peeled and diced
1 medium Bartlett pear, peeled, cored and diced
1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock
1/3 cup (85 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (or to taste)
1) Heat a medium pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil, leeks and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes until tender but not browned. Add squash, pear, potato and coriander. Stir for a few seconds to coat with oil and coriander. Add the chicken stock and coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover back, simmer for 15 minutes until all vegetables are tender.
2) Puree soup with a blender and season with salt. Serve while warm topped with a drizzle of olive oil.
Roasted beet, caramelized onion and goat cheese tart
makes a 9-inch tart
3 medium striped beets
1 pie crust recipe (this one is from my book and it has quinoa flour and almond flour)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup (125 ml) whole milk
1/2 cup (125 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 ounces (60 g) goat cheese, crumbled
1) Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Place beets in baking sheet and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes until tender. Peel the beets and reserve them for later. This step can be made one day ahead.
2) Lower heat to 375F (190C) Roll pie crust and fill a 9-inch tart mold with it. Cover with parchment paper and add dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove beans and let pastry cool.
3) While crust is baking, heat a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add olive oil, onions and salt. Cook for 15 minutes until onions are tender and slightly caramelized. Transfer the onions to the prebaked crust. Top with sliced beets.
4) Whisk together the eggs, whole milk, coconut milk, parmesan, and cornstarch in a bowl. Pour over the vegetables and top with goat cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden and custard set. Serve warm.