Naptime Everyday: Recipes for Everyday Cooking and Baking
Today I have to share a little chocolate tart I made last month. It was simple, yet sophisticated; rich, but not overwhelming. I loved making it because it wasn’t complicated and had a very grown-up appeal. It a chocolate tart with an almond crust, topped with mascarpone whipped cream and a rich caramel sauce. Simple? Yes. Decadent? You bet. This little gem would be perfect for a chocolate holiday dessert, or at just about any dinner party you throw this winter. The best part is that the recipe isn’t mine, it was already perfectly written out by Mimi Thorisson. I considered a few amendments but I’m glad I didn’t use them because I love the recipe exactly as it is written. You know what they say about messing with perfection.
This fall I’ve been working on getting more comfortable with yeasted doughs on working on recipes for sweet rolls and bakery-style sweet breads. It has taken a bit of experimenting but I am finally ready to share a favorite, this braided buttery pumpkin danish. It’s not perfectly symmetrical or fit for display at a fancy bakery, but I promise you it tastes amazing.
Three generations at our Thanksgiving table can be tricky. My parents have had several decades to establish their Thanksgiving eating habits and have very clear opinions of what they’d like on the table. My husband, my brother, and I sit in the middle, having a few things we love to eat but don’t get every single year. My children are the youngest, and being that they are somewhat picky I often make a few things just for them.
It took a few tries for carrot cake to become one of our favorites. I initially served my family the classic version and after the very first bite my children insisted I omit the raisins and nuts the next time. The second time around was better, but was deemed “boring.” Then, after they developed a sudden, and unexpected, obsession with blueberry pancakes I was asked to add berries to their cake to liven it up a little. Finally, with a few adjustments made to the frosting technique, we were set.
It is well-known in grade school land that October is the month of teacher conferences and half-day dismissals which is means that carefully laid routine of September is basically thrown out the window for a couple of weeks. It is an incredible pain in the a** for busy parents and the best way to deal with the food aspect of it, at least in my opinion, is with the slow-cooker. Prep food early in the day, let it cook while you scurry around to early pick-ups and coordinate playdates, and then serve dinner once everyone is finally able to wind down.
Cool fall days call for warm, chewy cookies. As the temperatures dip I find it easier to turn on the oven and let the kitchen warm up with it. These chewy cranberry oatmeal almond cookies are a new recipe I found in a terrific new cookbook, Scandinavian Gatherings: From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer Feast: 70 Simple Recipes & Crafts for Everyday Celebrations. I am going to showcase the book next week but this recipe simply can’t wait.
Last spring we skipped making our own maple syrup because we had such crazy weather. It warmed up early and the sap started running. But then it suddenly stopped when we had a late spring frost, and never really had a chance to start again since the weather transitioned from winter straight to blistering hot summer. Instead, I invested in a big jug of real maple syrup in Cooperstown and have been doling it out ever since. Last week I used some syrup to make this Maple Yogurt Loaf for some friends. Though we use maple year round, it feels like such a fall flavor to me and with a little added pumpkin it was the perfect cake to kick-off the fall season.
We are back in the weeknight swing and I’m working on some new dinner recipes to add to my current repertoire. Over the summer we got into two dishes: zoodles, and shakshuka. Both are simple to make and taste delicious. Up until now I’ve been serving them separately, but this week I decided to combine them into one easy dish. My plan was to bake the eggs in the tomatoes and serve them over zoodles for an easy, healthy dinner.
We are big fans of all things pumpkin in our house. Nothing in my kitchen is safe from a swirl of pumpkin and maybe a touch of browned butter. Nothing! I know I am not the only one with this tendency and it was no surprise to find a whole selection of pumpkin recipes in the recent Martha Stewart Living magazine. (Martha and her editors totally get me!) The first to the dozen recipes I clipped was this Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake. It was screaming my name and when we invited friends over for dinner I knew it would be the perfect thing to serve for dessert.
This week I am participating in 5 Affordable Weeknight Dinners from Whole Foods Market with my friends at Whole Foods Market. We were asked to come up with five delicious family meals that we can make with one bag of groceries using Whole Foods’ super fresh ingredients .
Curry has never been my strong suit. I have a recipe for Curry Chicken Salad in my first cookbook, and am devoted to Aimée’s slow-cooker chicken curry. Other than that, I didn’t have much else in my repertoire until I stumbled upon this Coconut Shrimp Curry recipe on Sophie Dahl’s cookbook. We’ve been eating more shrimp lately and this recipe looked accessible for a non-curry expert and simple enough for a weeknight.
I am so thrilled to announce that this year I’ll be working with Cascadian Farm to produce exciting content on The Naptime Chef and for their website featuring their amazing selection of frozen fruit and vegetables. I’ve been a longtime fan of their frozen produce and frequently use it in my cooking working together is a natural fit. There is so much wonderful family-friendly fare that can be made with frozen produce, let’s dive in together!