Apple and Honey Board

Photo of an Apple and Honey BoardBoard of Celebration
Yesterday I woke up and realized that we are basically halfway through September. And, I am not entirely sure how that happened. I do know that I have weather whiplash. Last week the pavement was melting and this week I need a sweater. I guess that means it’s fall now?

This weather has also got me craving fall foods. I consumed some pumpkin spice baked goods the other day without guilt since the temp outside was in the 70s. (My rule is no pumpkin spice when it’s 80 or above—no matter how much I love the flavor. Just on principle.) I also found myself eyeing the crockpot for something slow-cooked and hearty like a pot roast. That line of thought took me on a roasted meat journey that got me to a lovely brisket with plenty of “melted” onions. Then the brisket reminded me that Rosh Hashanah is coming up at the end of the month.

Full disclosure, I am not Jewish. But, I have a deep and consuming love for what most people consider to be Jewish food. My mother-in-law IS Jewish AND from New York. So, after 20-plus years in the family, I believe I know my way around a good bagel among other favorites. Even though we may not celebrate the Jewish holidays in our family, I do like to at least acknowledge the history and culture if only so my kids have some connection to their past. (I mean fair is fair. They must endure all things Viking from my Scandinavian family.)

Rosh Hashanah begins on Sunday the 25th which is perfect as I tend to do what I call a “big dinner” on Sundays. This generally means that whatever we are having takes more than an hour to make. It’s an homage to the Sunday dinners we had at my grandmother’s growing up. Not sure what the main dish will be this year but I do know I will start things off with an Apples and Honey board.

The reasons are two-fold. One, the fall apples are starting to show up in the market and they are all crunchy goodness. (I’m looking at you Honeycrisp.) Second, I’ve kind of become a cheese board-obsessed maniac…so any excuse is a good excuse. And, since apples and honey are part of the tradition it’s a no-brainer…

There is no actual recipe for making an Apple and Honey Board. Just use your imagination. However, if you are doing one for Rosh Hashana remember no meats. And, since circles and rounds have significance for the holiday, try to incorporate them as much as possible. You can use cheese rounds like brie and round crackers. Or consider making this recipe for a classic cheeseball. Read more…

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks

Image of a plate of Roasted Cauliflower SteaksSteak Your Veggies
My relationship with cauliflower is difficult. I have only just recently started to eat it because my daughter can’t stand broccoli and cauliflower is a fairly easy substitute. My difficulties started when I was a kid when my mom would make cauliflower with a cheese sauce. And, for a long time, I was okay with it. I’m not sure exactly what went wrong. But, after having it one night I got sick. No one else got sick. Just me. From that day forward, in much the same way that college tequila shots have ruined margaritas for many people, I never wanted to eat cauliflower again.

It has taken 40 years but I have tried cauliflower—just a little bit now and then. Cauliflower has that great attribute of not having a strong flavor and therefore will soak up the flavor of anything it’s in. This is why I can handle cauliflower in Indian food, for example. But, large amounts of cauliflower on its own is a hurdle I haven’t cleared…yet.

I am intrigued by cauliflower steaks. There is something about this concept that appeals to me. The idea makes so much sense. A beautifully roasted or sautéed caramelized steak with a flavor-filled sauce of choice sounds so good in my head. So, I have been researching recipes so that I can take the leap…

While this version by Gordon Ramsay with salsa verde seems like it would be right up my alley, I have begun with something more basic as I dip my toe into these waters.

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks Recipe
Adapted from All Recipes
Yields 4 servings

Try these oven-roasted cauliflower steaks seasoned with a simple lemon-garlic sauce. Serve them with Chimichurri or topped with roasted tomatoes, olives, and feta. Read more…

Blueberry Mojito Popsicles

Photo of Blueberry Mojito Popsicles against a dark backgroundCocktail On A Stick
I am not a big popsicle fan. I mean, I like them. I will eat them. But, I won’t seek them out the way the rest of my family does. However, there are some days in the summer when a popsicle hits just right. And, sometimes those popsicles are more than what they seem.

I like my drinks cold—arctic cold. Water, coffee, sodas, no matter what it is, if I am drinking it, there is a lot of ice. So, it makes sense that when I came across the cocktail popsicle, it was love at first sight.

The downside is that they don’t pack the same punch as a regular cocktail—mainly because you have to dial the booze back a bit to get them to freeze. Bonus, you can enjoy more than one without getting too sloppy!

There are a number of good possibilities out there. I like this recipe for Blueberry Mojito Popsicles ‘cause it’s pretty. But, an easy vodka lemonade is always a good idea. Play around with it a bit. A good rule of thumb is a 1:5 ratio of alcohol to juice, puree, or whatever mixture you’re using. Read more…

Classic Chocolate Mousse

Image of classic chocolate mousse in a stemmed serving bowlIt Mousse Be Love
When I was a kid, I would order chocolate mousse whenever it was an option on the dinner menu. I thought it was the height of sophistication until my eight-year-old eyes were opened to the wonder that is a well-caramelized crème brûlée.

Strangely, chocolate mousse is not a dessert option you see all that often anymore, at least not as a standalone. It is out there in the wild. But, you have to look for it. Sure, there are chocolate mousse cakes—but a single dish of chocolate mousse? Not really. And a Pot de Crème is not the same thing.

Perhaps it is time chocolate mousse made a comeback?

The hot summer months are a great time to give Classic Chocolate Mousse a try because all that is needed is a microwave and a hand mixer. No hot oven (or even stoves) is required. What is required is good quality chocolate. Not the stuff you eat in the afternoon that I like to refer to as rescue chocolate. Good quality baking chocolate like Guittard or Valhrona is key.

While I do like my chocolate mousse straight up, I will from time to time add flavor, like a little espresso or something boozy. Just be careful not to add too much or your chocolate will seize and become grainy and/or greasy.

Real legit chocolate mousse is rich and decadent. Real chocolate mousse is not melted chocolate combined with whipped cream. If you make it the right way, Classic Chocolate Mousse contains butter and eggs which give the mousse its silky fluffiness. Don’t be afraid of the fact that the eggs are not cooked. It’s not too different than the runny yolks of a fried egg. If you are concerned, just make sure that the eggs you use are pasteurized and you should be just fine.

Classic Chocolate Mousse Recipe
Yields 4 servings

Classic Chocolate Mousse is both rich and creamy, yet light and fluffy.
This is a classic chocolate mousse made French-style. It has less cream, an intense chocolate flavor, and a beautiful, creamy mouth feel.

Note that this recipe needs at least 5 hours in the fridge to set before serving. Read more…