Pear-Comté Tart

I was excited to make this one because everyone who chose to make this as their first recipe this month, loved it.

The All-Purpose tart shell is partially baked, cooled, and then lightly coated with Dijon mustard. Meanwhile the filling is prepared consisting of eggs, cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and grated Gruyère. When it is time to assemble, half the filling is poured into the shell, the sliced up pear is arranged, followed by the rest of the filling and some cubed Gruyère. The whole thing is popped in the oven for about 15 min, and then pulled out to add some chopped up walnuts on top. It gets returned to the oven, and cooked for another 15 min or so until the custard is puffed and golden brown. The tart can be served hot, warm, room temp, or even cold…so very versatile!

We thought this was a pretty gourmet looking tart that tasted as delicious as it looked. This would be really nice to serve to guests..really at any meal of the day. This was a winner and not too time consuming.

This one is a keeper!

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Granola-Topped Squash and Root Vegetable Gratin

This is a recipe to “zhoosh up the season’s stalwarts, root vegetables and squash”.

The recipe calls for potato, celery root, and squash to be steamed and then mixed with maple syrup or honey, olive oil, and finally either heavy cream or chicken broth. After roasting the mixture, topped with granola and roasted another 5 min to warm but retain its crunch.

We are told the recipe is a guideline and any root vegetables can be mixed and substituted. I could not find celery root so I made mine with potato, butternut squash, and turnip. I also omitted the step of steaming the vegetable to precook them..I just went straight to roasting and it works out just fine. I used honey and chicken broth along with the olive oil…salt and pepper.

We eat roasted vegetables ALL the time, although never granola topped. 😳. My husband’s first comment as he tasted it was, “why the granola??” I was like, I don’t know 🤷‍♀️😂😂…it’s a blog recipe.

So needless to say, this wasn’t a favorite. Funny enough though, it did grow on him and he suggested we save the leftovers to have mixed in an egg burrito the next day so all was not lost. However, I can say I would probably never add granola to our roasted vegetables again haha.

Cranberry Spice Squares

349 posts and I have never done this…

I sent all of the dessert out to my tasters before getting a picture haha! 🤷‍♀️🤦‍♀️. Wow! I went to write this up and was like oh no! Quickly sent a text to my daughter-in-law (the last to get theirs) and asked if they hadn’t eaten it yet, PLEASE take a picture for me.

DIL to the rescue! ❤️❤️

…and then I get this text 😍

“I was going to wait until he got home to taste test with him but I made the mistake of going in for “just one bite” 😂 superrr delicious and the perfect treat as I put up our Christmas decor! (It’s never too early for the holiday spirit right?!)”

Love it!

These certainly scream holidays…gingerbread but in an understated way with the earthy additions of all-purpose, wheat, and rye flour and the zing of fresh cranberries. I felt like this was a modern twist on an old classic. I for one am not usually a fan of cream cheese frosting, but somehow on these, it was the perfect complement.

Easy to make and loved by all…what more can you ask for really?!! I plan on adding this to our thanksgiving dessert spread as an alternate to the traditional pies.

This one is a keeper!

…in case you were curious…the text from my son later on 😍😂

Oh wow, I am a HUGE fan of those.

Clam Chowder My Way

We are big clam chowder fans…my husband both types; me, Manhattan…so I knew this would be a hit…and it certainly was!

Dorie’s recipe is a creation all her own which is a riff on the New England version that gives a nod to Thailand. Instead of the cream…coconut milk, and in place of the traditional aromatics…ginger, lemon-grass, cilantro, basil and a kaffir lime leaf. She also adds pancetta, Yukon Golds, Vidalia onions, and jalapeño just to mix it up a bit more.

So, I had to go my way a little bit on this one because I had trouble finding a few of the ingredients..the lemon-grass and kaffir lime leaf were not to be found…and then I am one of the strange ones that has the genetic disposition that can’t take cilantro. I didn’t want to do the optional traditional clam chowder because I already knew we liked that. I decided to just go ahead with the rest of the ingredients and see how that goes so although not exactly following the recipe, the best that I could.

The soup is started with cooking down the pancetta, onion, celery, ginger, garlic, jalapeño, and bay leaf in butter. Clam juice and potatoes get added. About 20 minutes later, the coconut milk and clams are mixed in and heated. Upon serving, top with pepper, basil, and oyster crackers.

I have to say, I am not a fan of coconut and was afraid that would be the dominant flavor, but it was not at all. This soup was absolutely delicious! We both loved the flavors and I especially liked the lighter, broth base, more like a Manhattan. I am not sure how much leaving those couple ingredients out did on the overall flavor, but as is I would most certainly make this again. Totally winner in our book!

This one is a keeper!

Blue Cheese Bites

We have mini, two-bite muffins for our bake this month. They are flavored with a tang from blue cheese and the sweetness of figs.

It is a fairly simple batter that is only difficult mixing in the olive oil…that sure took a minute, and also the planning because this batter needed to chill for a minimum of two hours.

We are told these would be a good addition to serve when entertaining…at a brunch or with cocktails. Maybe because we didn’t do either, and tried them on their own, these didn’t really impress us. They weren’t bad, but just didn’t do much for us. 🤷‍♀️

Caramel-Pear And Five-Spice Upside-Down Cake

Quite a sophisticated name for a modern twist on a pineapple upside down cake!

This one combines fresh pears with a batter flavored with lemon…zest and juice, ginger, Chinese five spice powder and topped with a homemade caramel…also flavored with some lemon juice.

All of it easy and straightforward…the batter even getting mixed up in the food processor.

The caramel is swirled in a warmed pan to get the sides and bottom coated…pears placed in any design, and then topped with the batter. The whole thing is baked for about 40 minutes, baking nice and tall. Mine went higher than the cake pan! After cooling for a few minutes, the whole thing is inverted on a serving platter.

Our recipe tells us the top will be a deep mahogany color…mine was not, but no impact on the flavor. This was loved by all. The five spice packs a punch, cooled by the sweetness of the caramel…and everyone loved the texture of the cake…as Dorie said, somewhere between a sponge and loaf cake. Delicious.

I think this would be equally, if not better, with apples. Just might have to try that variation out. 😍

This one is a keeper!

Caramel-Apple Crisp

Welcome Fall! We baked an apple crisp with a twist…caramel apples!

This came together rather easily…I am always a little concerned making caramel, but this one came out perfectly. Three easy steps and you have a delicious crisp ready to serve.

  • Make the topping…Dorie calls this streusel more “earthy” because in addition to the usual ingredients: flour, both sugars, butter, cinnamon, salt, vanilla…we add oatmeal and wheat flour. This gets mixed up and chilled for at least an hour.
  • Meanwhile, make the caramel. You start out with sugar and water, but in this recipe, also corn syrup…once amber colored, butter, heavy cream, and fleur de sel get mixed in and finished off with some vanilla.
  • Last step…4-5 apples are chopped and mixed with some of the caramel (I used a mix of Gala and Granny), placed in a pie plate…covered with the topping…and then baked for about 45 min until golden and bubbling

I knew we would love this…and we did. You would expect this to taste like apple pie, but it is different. The sweetness is toned down and balanced with the “earthy” topping. I am sure an addition of some ice cream on top would take the sweetness up a notch, but we enjoyed it plain and simple. 😍

This one is a keeper!

Lemon-Fennel Chicken In A Pot

Dorie tells us this is her “favorite kind of recipe: it comes together quickly, cooks unattended, and arrives at the table ready for its close up.” Sounds like it could be a favorite for me too! 😂

This is a straight forward recipe…

Ingredients arranged on the bottom: fennel, shallots, garlic heads, and lemons are mixed with olive oil, honey, thyme, bay leaves and chicken broth.

Chicken is stuffed with some lemons and more thyme…massaged with some olive oil and drizzled with lemon.

Cover this up in your dutch oven and bake for 90 min and voila…dinner is served.

This was really easy and smelled delicious while cooking! Personally, we didn’t think the chicken on its own had much flavor, but we really liked the additions of the roasted garlic, fennel, and juice!! All of them together were delicious. I think if I would make this again I would double the vegetables and liquid because that is what made the dish. What I do like about this is the fact we easily get two dinners out of this….plus all the rest of the chicken I shredded and will be frozen and used so many ways.

I like this method of cooking chicken a lot and would be so easy after picking up a whole chicken…which I rarely do because I don’t know what to do with it…now I know!

This one is a keeper!

Java Mini Mads

As you can see from my picture, these didn’t go quite as planned 😳😩

We have a take on the classic Madeleines today…coffee flavored “mini mads”. Same beloved texture, but now in mini muffin form and cappuccino flavored…coffee and cinnamon.

We are to make the batter and let it chill for a minimum of five hours which helps you get the classic madeleine “hump”. As you can see, mine went a little wonky…no hump whatsoever 😆🤦‍♀️. They tasted great…had the right texture, but were missing the classic hump. All I can think that happened was I didn’t use a metal mini muffin pan but a silicon one. I am guessing that doesn’t help crips the edges the same way or help induce the hump. Bummer and lesson learned….just kicking myself a bit that I could have just made the cookies in my classic madeleine pan haha and all would be well but I thought the mini mads would work better for sharing. As you can see I got some terrific height in these things so I will be happy with that haha!

Flognarde With Plums Or Berries Or Pears

This one was new to us, but tasted like something we had eaten before….we were thinking maybe like those skillet baked pancakes.

We are told this is a custardy French dessert of fruit…usually plums, prunes, pears, or berries and the batter most closely resembles one you would use to make crepes.

I used blueberries in my flognarde…and would again if I was to make this another time. This was very easy…really just some mixing up of ingredients and then a good long hour baking. Honestly, that was probably the hardest part because of the sweltering heatwave we have been going through. Not really baking weather 🥵 but we must press on haha!

It seemed like everyone enjoyed this one. Not sure it was a favorite, but if I had leftover blueberries to use up…I would make it again!