It's about to begin, the parade of sweet treats through your office, your holiday parties, and probably your very own kitchen. Consider this granola a much-needed savory break for you and anyone lucky enough to receive it from you as a gift. Savory curry granola?, you may be thinking. That's right: salty, crunchy, curry-spiked granola studded with toasted pecans and browned coconut chips. You don't need milk or yogurt to enjoy this granola -- it's good enough to eat plain by the handful, but if you're nice you'll make a double batch to give out as gifts as well.
Let's talk caramels. The candy kind. The chewy, melt-in-your-mouth, deeply sweet, and insanely addictive kind. These make some of the best gifts ever, whether the event is Christmas, a birthday, or a thank you for a favor. Or no reason at all. You probably already have the ingredients in your pantry, and if you haven't made caramels recently, you probably don't know how easy they can be. Grab a bag of sugar and your candy thermometer, folks! We're making caramels today.
When I need an impressive dessert in a hurry, I pull out my bundt pan. Though the batter is no more involved than any other cake, the big, fluted finished cake looks like it took a lot of work or special skill. Even better, bundt cakes don't require frosting, layering or any other decoration beyond a dusting of powdered sugar and a dollop of whipped cream on each slice. This particular bundt cake replaces sweet icing with a heady mixture of whiskey, black coffee, butter and brown sugar, which is spooned over the still-warm cake to soak in and glaze it as it cools.
Is it just me, or is anyone else always on the hunt for good snack ideas? I can usually manage coming up with a healthy lunch or an inspired dinner, but my afternoon hunger often caves to chips, salsa, and melted cheese. Seriously, you'd think I would have outgrown that old standby by now...
Duck confit is one of those dishes I figured I would never make at home. Poaching duck legs in fat sounds messy, difficult and expensive — duck fat isn't cheap. But I learned there is an easier, cheaper way to make duck confit, and now I'm tempted to give this classic cooking and preservation technique a try.
Everyone has a favorite chili recipe. Mine will always be my mother's, complete with ground beef and a packet of taco seasoning. It may not be gourmet, but it's pure comfort food to me. It's also never quite tasted the same when I've tried to make it—there's something about eating it at my parents' home, wrapped up in a blanket while sitting around the fire that just makes it that much better.
With the approach of the holiday party season, I am always on the lookout for make-ahead appetizers that are a little different from the usual spread of cheeses, meats and crudite. Chicken liver pâté doesn't enjoy the popularity it had when Julia Child was queen, but this elegant yet economical hors d'oeuvre is due for a comeback. Cooked down with apple, shallots, fresh herbs and brandy, lowly liver transforms into an umami-rich spread that can be made up to one week ahead and will have even those hesitant about liver reaching for more.
When the temperature takes a permanent nosedive and fall is starting to look a lot more like winter, shepherd's pie is one of the first things that I crave. One enormous square of this casserole, with its blanket of mashed potatoes and that savory meat-and-vegetable filling, sends a sigh of contentment through my whole body. One casserole makes more than enough for my household of two, so I can look forward to comfort meals all week long.
This is the time of year when Dutch ovens come into their own. Even if you use your big, heavy Dutch oven year-round, as I do, it still seems to come down off its shelf a little more often in the fall. Today I want to show you my favorite Dutch oven — and a soup to cook in it. This soup is one of those magical recipes with just a few ingredients, and all the usual suspects — carrot, onion, beans, chicken broth — that nevertheless turns out to have such a deep, wonderful flavor you don't mind that it makes enough to feed you for a week. And a Dutch oven is really the best vessel for it, because this soup is cooked just a little differently.
This is an easy, rustic recipe that makes a great vegetarian meal or a pretty side dish for summer or autumn. It's so simple: Yellow squash layered in a jumble with sliced red potato and goat cheese. No cream needed at all.