23 November 2012

thanksgiving for two

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This was the first holiday that Brian and I were completely without family.  Unfortunately, the nature of both of our jobs requires us to stick it out through the holidays.  If we were closer to home, this wouldn't be much of an issue, but since we are a good driving, or even plane ride, distance from pretty much any one we know, we were left spending this one in a very special way: just us two.

While we aren't really planning on being away from all of the people we love in the future, I have to admit it was nice just spending the day together and feeling like we were doing something that was just ours.  As much time as we spend together, it never seems to be enough. 

I tend to do the majority of the cooking in our household, but Brian busts out some masterpieces every now and then.  He will always make a better grilled cheese than I do.  He surprised me with banana pecan pancakes so I could kick back with my Real Simple magazine all morning.  I probably could have stopped there and called it a successful turkey day.


 We ventured out to go on a late morning hike and Digby went for a swim in Seneca Creek. 


Then, it was home to cook and bake all of the usual Thanksgiving fare!  I loosely based my recipes off of this site's guidelines of cooking for two. 


My favorite part was the stuffing that I made from a rosemary sourdough bread with lots of leeks and celery. I also thoroughly enjoyed indulging in crackers and pate, which I learned (for the fifth time) Brian absolutely despises.  One of these days he will cave, I'm sure of it.


His favorite part was the homemade crispy fried onion strings.  This sort of happened on accident.  I did  all of my shopping at Whole Foods just because I didn't have time to go any where else.  Your usual onion strings in a can is not really something you can find at a natural foods store, so I had to improvise.  With a little handy mandolin work and a frying pan, I made it happen.  I was informed that these will be on the menu every Thanksgiving from now on.


We set ourselves a nice little table, turned on some fancy dining music, and enjoyed ourselves.


Exactly what we needed.


I hope you all had an equally relaxing and wonderful Thanksgiving! 

21 November 2012

ginger spice

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So, since we are all nice and thankful this time of year, I'd like to take a second to be thankful for this spice cake.  It's done its official duty of helping me feel all holiday.  It has helped my man friend remember that I actually love him when I've really been working twelve hour days at the bakery.  It's kept me fed when I'm all woman-on-the-run.  It also contains an awesome amount of fresh ginger.  


I'm also thankful that I have found a wedding dress (!!) and had an amazing weekend with my mom before the bakery holiday madness began.  I am not thankful that I miss my best girl friends so much, but I am glad that I got the chance to skype with them for hours the other night.



But, most of all... I am thankful that Brian and I are spending the day together with nothing on our minds but each other.  An entire day of whatever we want, sprinkled with a healthy dose of food and cabernet.  Well, cabernet for me... lots of throwing a tennis ball for Digby on Brian's end.  Also, me making my first mini round of Thanksgiving fare (that is why the cabernet is there) to prep me for my impending wife and motherly duties.

In perfect form, this spice cake will be gone just in time for the chocolate pecan pie to take its place on the counter.  Even better news?  This guy can totally make a comeback anytime between now and Christmas.  Full of ginger spice flavor and topped with freshly whipped cream and cinnamon, Santa or the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade would fit it just the same. 


Recipe for Ginger Spice Cake

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup boiling water
8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp powdered sugar

for Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine first six ingredients in bowl and set aside.  Dissolve molasses in boiling water.  Beat butter and brown sugar in mixing bowl with paddle until light and fluffy.  Slowly add eggs, fresh ginger, and pumpkin puree.  Mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of your bowl with a rubber spatula.  Alternate adding dry mixture and molasses mixture and mix until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Pour into 9 inch spring form pan lined with parchment and sprayed with non-stick spray.  Bake for one hour, or until cake tester comes clean.

Remove and let sit 15 minutes before removing from pan.  Let sit one hour before dusting with powdered sugar and serving with fresh whipped cream.