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Spice Up Your Life
Pumpkin season, non-pumpkin spiced things and October links.
I’m coming to you just after wrapping up Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. It’s my ninth one, and this California girl is still surprised every year with how early it feels to be making cranberries and pumpkin pie. The school year here doesn’t start until after Labor Day. So while I was used to three full months of school before the holiday in the States, fall ends up being a total whirlwind of activities, sports practice, quickly changing weather, and expectations of a full turkey dinner smack in the middle of it all.
However, with change comes a chance to start new traditions.
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To our menu, I’ve ditched the stuffing in favor of homemade Challah bread, added butternut squash soup (the only cooked fall vegetable that my son eats without protest) and miso green beans, downsized to a dry-rub turkey breast, but kept my favorite cranberry sauce (the most requested item at our table every year).
Thanksgiving in October means it is still warm enough for a morning nature walk and light enough for a post-dinner stroll around the neighborhood. It means I can skip making pumpkin pie and save it for a special, mid-November treat.
Early Thanksgiving also means we jump right back into regularly scheduled programming as soon as the tryptophan exits our system. Here’s what else we’ve got going on this month:
What I’ve Been Eating:
Roasted Root Vegetables - Simple, fast, and fresh. My favorite, easiest way to cook up vegetables this time of year is to chop carrots, parsnips, red onion wedges, beets, squash, and potatoes and scatter them on a few rimmed baking sheets (see Thanksgiving plate above). Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast at 425°F until fork tender (30 to 45 minutes). Try to keep the vegetables that require the same baking time on the same tray (like carrots and beets together, small potatoes and squash on another sheet).
Cranberry Sauce - I’ve made a variation of this Citrus Cranberry Sauce ever since Brett and I got married, 12 years ago. It is flavored with orange, vanilla bean, and maple syrup. The secret ingredient? Dijon mustard! It is the most requested dish at our Thanksgiving. We always comment on how I should make it all season long and not just for the holiday. I think you should, too.
For my version, I significantly reduce the sugar but add a few glugs of maple syrup at the end.
Beef Tourtiere - This hearty meat pie is a Canadian favorite. I paired my all-butter flaky pie dough with Matty Matheson’s filing, and it was the perfect heart-warming, stick-to-your-ribs Sunday dinner. I added frozen peas to the filling and served with a side of roasted cauliflower and plenty of ketchup (it’s a must!).
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls - One weekend this month, surprise the family or treat yourself to these fluffy buns with chai vanilla glaze. The pumpkin purée is subtle but adds a beautiful orange color to the dough. Bonus: there are easy directions for starting these the night before!
What I’ve Been Reading:
Evergreen Kitchen - My North Shore friends put out this gorgeous vegetarian cookbook. I’m not a vegetarian (see meat pie above), but Bri and Anguel make cooking with vegetables look so good. The first recipe I made was the Pad Thai - highly recommended! This book is definitely not just for vegetarians, but for anyone that likes good, homemade food.
Tartine - I’ve checked this book out from the library more times than I can remember. For solid pastry and baking recipes, this book is for you. Not to be confused with baking basics, Tartine’s recipes are often made with alternative flours and ingredients for maximum flavor. I really want to make a version of the Butterscotch Pie soon - stay tuned!
I have the Tartine Bread book too. The one classic sourdough loaf recipe taught me so much about bread baking. Do you guys bake sourdough?
What I’ve Been Listening To:
H.E.R - The discography is pretty big, but throw on anything from singer/songwriter H.E.R. during your next baking session and you’ll be jamming in no time. Or start with “Intimidation” with Kaytranada - it’s my favorite.
Mychelle - On the contrary, her EP, Someone Who Knows, is short, sweet, and soulful.
BRAND NEW Recipes From STYLE SWEET!
Butternut Squash Hand Pies - This vintage Style Sweet recipe (from 2013!) got a fresh, new look. Butter, garlic, and sage roasted squash gets tucked into flaky pastry with goat cheese to make these Butternut Squash Hand Pies.
Caramel Brownie Cake - Rich, fudge brownies, spiced buttercream and salted caramel make up this decadent chocolate brownie cake. Thick, chocolatey layers with frosting is our favorite way to serve up brownies! This cake will make you think “pumpkin spice who?”