A Festive Feast

paint17paint18paint13paint26Last night, Burton and I jokingly wondered what kind of poor, tortured shlubs we must’ve been in our past life in order to get so lucky this time around (because that’s obviously how it works). I surprised him with a little painting/drawing station and a feast so special that one look and you knew ‘Christmas must be coming soon’. We ate while encompassed in the warm glow of the candle flames that surrounded us and then drew pictures inspired by the season while watching Home Alone on the projector. Capslock didn’t leave our side all night.

Also, Home Alone is a twisted movie to have on when you’re not watching it, like if you’re looking down the entire time while painting, because all you hear is two grown men shouting over and over “I’m gonna kill that kid!!!!” paint23paintpaint32

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So what’d we have?

Baked Pumpkin, Kale and Ricotta Ravioli covered in Caramelized Onions, Parmesan and Panko

Harissa Sweet Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese and Cashews

Acorn Squash stuffed with Israeli Couscous, Cranberries and Sriracha-Roasted Pecans

Blackened Peaches, Tahini and Thyme Toast

Hearty Winter Greens with Roasted Vegetables and a Mustardy Cider Dressing

Seared Endive with Pomegranate Salsa

Dark Chocolate, Toasted Pumpkin Seed and Curry Truffles

Apricot and Walnut Turkish Delights

Eggnog and Chocolate Maca Chia Pudding topped with Blackberries

Cranberry and Clementine Cider with Apple Shrub floated with La Croix

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There’s not much to say about the food that isn’t clear from looking at it: it was all phenomenal. As someone who always has a lot to say, I’m finding it hard to describe this meal. It was too good for words.

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paint27As I’m sure the cramp in your finger from scrolling is alerting you, this is my most picture heavy post on the blog. I’m coming very close to a head on collision with my bandwidth limit and likely will hit it before the new year, so this post is (kind of) one last hurrah and (kind of) me ignoring an incoming problem. That incoming problem is figuring out what I want to do once I reach the bandwidth limit given to free accounts. I could pay $300 (billed yearly) to upgrade to a premium account. I could find a new hosting site and figure out how to create a website. I could delete old posts. Maybe I’ll have a fundraiser and sell jarred sauces, nut butters and spreads to cover the upgrade. Or I could just ignore it and post more pictures of Caps until I eventually have to deal with it.

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Baked Pumpkin, Kale and Ricotta Ravioli covered in Caramelized Onions, Parmesan and Panko

Serves 2

ingredients

6 pieces Pumpkin, Kale and Ricotta Ravioli (view my homemade ravioli post here and adjust the filling), cooked

1 medium sized onion, sliced

1/8 cup grated parmesan

2-4 tbsp panko

1 tbsp olive oil

optional garnish: fresh herbs (I used oregano)

Preheat oven to 450. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until fragrant and browned. Add the cooked ravioli, top with cheese and panko. Bake for 10 minutes. Garnish with herbs.

Harissa Sweet Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese and Cashews

serves 2-3

ingredients

3 tbsp harissa (recipe located here)

1 large sweet potato, sliced very thin (preferably with a mandoline)

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

3 tbsp fresh  goat cheese

2 tbsp chopped roasted cashews

2 tbsp parsley

Preheat oven to 450. Toss olive oil, harissa, salt and pepper with the sweet potato. In a small oven safe dish, lie the sweet potatoes upright on their side. Bake covered in tin foil for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 more. Garnish with goat cheese, cashews and parsley.

Acorn Squash stuffed with Israeli Couscous, Cranberries and Sriracha-Roasted Pecans

serves 2

ingredients

1 acorn squash, cut in half and seeded

1/2 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, diced

2 shallots, diced

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup israeli couscous

4 tbsp pecans

1 tsp sriracha

1 tsp honey

1 tsp olive oil

1/4 cup of cranberries

3 tbsp parsley

Preheat oven to 450 and roast squash for 30-40 minutes, or until soft. Toss pecans with sriracha, honey and 1 tsp olive oil. Bake for 3 minutes, flip and bake for 2 minutes more. Let cool then chop finely. Meanwhile, in a small pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots, cook until fragrant and translucent. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil, then add couscous, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for ~7 minutes. Strain any excess liquid and fluff. In a skillet, sear the cranberries over medium/high heat for a couple of minutes. Let cool, then chop in half. Mix in the pecans, cranberries and parsley to the couscous, then stuff the mixture into the acorn squash. Return to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Blackened Peaches, Tahini and Thyme Toast

serves 2-3

ingredients

3 pieces quality bread, toasted

1/4 cup of tahini

2 peaches, sliced and roasted until blackened

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Spread tahini onto bread, then top with peaches and thyme

Hearty Winter Greens with Roasted Vegetables and a Mustardy Cider Dressing

serves 2

ingredients

3 cups sturdy greens of choice (I used just kale)

2 cups roasted vegetables of choice (I used golden and red beets, broccoli and brussels sprouts. roasted at 450 for 15 minutes)

dressing:

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp stone ground mustard

salt+pepper

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until combined. In a medium sized bowl, toss greens and roasted vegetables with dressing.

Seared Endive with Pomegranate Salsa

serves 2

ingredients

2 belgian endive, cut in half with inner layers removed

1/4 cup pomegranate arils

1 tbsp diced red onion

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

1 garlic clove, diced

1 tsp diced ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

salt+pepper

Heat a skillet over medium/high heat and sear the endive, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat. Assemble the salsa by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl and tossing to make sure it’s well combined. Stuff the endive with the pomegranate salsa.

Dark Chocolate, Toasted Pumpkin Seed and Curry Truffles

makes 10 truffles

ingredients

25 g pumpkin seeds (no shell)

2 tbsp heavy cream

70 g dark chocolate chips

1 tsp curry powder

2 tbsp powdered sugar

1 tsp garam masala

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a skillet over high heat until just fragrant and slightly browned. Chop finely. In a saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil over medium heat. Add in the chocolate chips and stir until melted. Mix in the curry powder and pumpkin seeds, stirring until well combined, then transfer the pot to the fridge. Let it rest one hour or until hardened enough to roll. Mix the powdered sugar and garam masala in a small bowl. Roll the chocolate mixture into small balls then toss in the sugar and spice mix.

Apricot and Walnut Turkish Delights

makes 15-2o pieces

ingredients

240 g dried apricots

40 g raw walnuts

30 g shredded coconut (+ extra to roll in)

1 tsp coconut oil

pinch of salt and cinnamon

In a food processor, blend the apricots with coconut oil and salt until very finely chopped and combined. Then add in the walnuts and shredded coconut and continue to blend for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle your work surface with shredded coconut and roll out the blended mixture into a rope. Wrap in wax paper and place in the fridge for about 1 hour, then cut into small coins.

Eggnog and Chocolate Maca Chia Pudding topped with Blackberries

serves 2 very well

ingredients

2 cups eggnog (I make a dairy free version with almond and coconut milk)

1/4 cup almond milk

2 very ripe bananas (like black)

6 tbsp chia seeds

2 tbsp high quality cacao powder

1 tbsp maca root powder (optional)

8 blackberries

Blend eggnog and 1 banana, Pour into a small bowl then stir in 4 tbsp chia seeds. Set in the fridge. Set in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Blend 1/4 cup almond milk with 1 banana, pour into a small bowl then stir in 2 tbsp chia seeds, cacoa powder and maca root. Set in the fridge for 15 minutes.

To assemble, evenly pour the eggnog mixture into two jars, then spoon out the chocolate/maca mixture and place on top of the eggnog mixture. Top with blackberries.

Cranberry and Clementine Cider with Apple Shrub floated with La Croix

makes 8-10 drinks

ingredients

4 cups cranberries

4-5 cups water

juice of 5 clementines, plus two clementines sliced whole

1 cup apple shrub (or sub with 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup apple juice)

3 inch knob of ginger, peeled and chopped

2 cinnamon sticks

3 star anise

4 whole cloves

In a large pot, bring all ingredients to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes then remove from heat. Let sit 1-2 hours before serving. To serve, fill a glass half full with the cider, then float with La Croix flavor of choice (we used both cran-raspberry and tangerine) or any sparkling water.

 

 

 

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