Friday, November 30, 2012

November at a Glance

Food trends and diets come and go from year to year, but as soon as November arrives and the thought of Thanksgiving looms on the horizon for all of us, we seem to want those time-honored and much beloved recipes we grew up eating.  I'm no different in taking comfort in the flavors and aromas of fall.  Did you all have a nice Thanksgiving?  I certainly hope so.  Ours was pretty much stress-free because I did not roast an entire turkey as in previous years.  My turkey was a stuffed and rolled version that went very well with the usual side dishes we crave.  Everything was tasty and nothing was leftover past the next day.  Admittedly, I kind of regret not having had leftovers for a few turkey sandwiches, but with Christmas right around the corner I won't have to wait very long for these savories.

This past month on the blog I explored a few recipes which have quickly become favorites of mine, because they call to mind all of the flavors I loved as a child.  A lot of these are just the thing to herald in the fall season.  I also showed you a most collectible cake mold in the shape of a turkey that bakes a showstopping dessert for the holidays.  If you collect kitchenalia like I do I suggest you keep a sharp eye for one of these molds at auction sites, they're worth having.  It occurred to me this month that we needed a refresher course on keeping and maintaining our wooden cutting boards.  With the dry fall & winter air, it's a good idea to have cutting boards that are primed and ready to help us with our countless meal preparations.  A split or warped wooden board is never a nice thing.  By the way, I hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving table I set out for my feast this year with the colorful maple leaves and the dried fruits as centerpieces.  Not too fussy or ornate, but striking and memorable nonetheless.

December is upon us and I can assure you that many tasty, eye-catching and celebratory good things will be shared here on the blog in the coming month, so stay tuned.  In the meantime a review of November's festive things is worth a second glance.  Enjoy!

Antique cake stands filled with multi-colored cookies.  

I think I'm going to treat my extended family to these cookies for the holidays because they are really delicious.  Such a beautiful cookie to bake and decorate, the recipe makes dozens of treats for everyone to savor.  I want to flock them with cinnamon sugar or some confectioner's sugar to make them a bit different from the ones I baked this month, which will make an even tastier version.
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These marvelous cookies were baked and iced by my friend Joy and her granddaughter.  She's quickly become a fan of the blog and is in the midst of completing a cookbook in the coming year.   She took a few moments to not only share a baking lesson with her granddaughter, but to also show her how to properly   clean and brighten those collectible Sugar Squirrel & Mighty Acorn  cookie cutters from Martha by Mail.  Thank you for sharing Joy!  
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Don't hesitate to buy a few of these squashes at the supermarket the next time you find a bin full of them.  I find it best to roast them in halves so that they don't take an hour or so to roast.  Pureeing them for soups, desserts or as a side takes only a matter of minutes.  Nothing could be easier.



If you didn't treat yourselves to some of this soup for Thanksgiving, do so for the holidays this December.  I think it's worthy of any type of get together, so think about it the next time you're invited to a potluck dinner.  Again, it's easy to prepare with just a handful of ingredients.  Canned squash can easily be substituted for the freshly roasted puree if you want.

Thank goodness Thanksgiving came and went rather quickly.  All of the food, prep work and stress is done and over with.  Everyone of us stresses out over this holiday, but the rewards of eating the various comforting dishes is well worth it in my opinion.  Mine was simple.  If you must know, I did not bake a pumpkin pie!  I know right?  I made the Pumpkin Pound Cake from the blog and let me tell you, it was delish!  Keep reading.

Some of my silverware being checked for tarnish.

This gorgeous cake mold is a wonderful piece of kitchenware that has become a collector's piece.  I consider it quintessential Americana because it bakes such a spectacular turkey that is emblematic of the fall season for us in the United States.  The mold is made of heavy cast aluminum that is meant to last for decades.  

I love how cleverly decorated this version is from the former Martha by Mail catalog.  One can, of course, take liberties and color, decorate and accessorize this cake to his or her tastes.

I have to give a big thank you to my friend Janet from North Carolina for sharing some of these images with me.  You see, I've misplaced a few of my decorating cards at the moment, much to my chagrin.  Janet saved the day!  I'll blog more about her in the future.  She too is a collector of cookie cutters and is amassing a formidable collection.  Thank You Janet!

I cannot tell you enough how sensational this cake is.  The pumpkin and spice cake perfumes your entire kitchen for the time it bakes and sits on its cakestand awaiting your guests.  Enhanced with an orange glaze, the rich golden dessert just beckons you to have a taste.  Dare you go for seconds?


The cake is filled with nothing but wholesome ingredients.
A nice big slice is just the thing for any holiday table.  Since I didn't bake a pie this year I served this cake instead. 

I had a lot of fun putting this table together.  I wanted to keep things festive, yet modest for my Thanksgiving gathering.  Those small porcelain bowls filled with dried fruit from my pantry are wonderful for guests.  You'll be surprised at how enticing they look sitting there.  Even the kids will want to try everything in them!

Here I am setting a nice rimmed soup bowl on top of an old ironstone salad plate.  The silverware and glassware are items I've collected over the years.  It's nice being able to mix things up because it makes for an interesting table arrangement.
An overview of the holiday table.

Go through this posting and then check your cutting boards at home.  If they look dry & thirsty, grab some food-safe mineral oil and begin conditioning them.  I've had cutting boards split on me in the past and it's not something I ever care to repeat.  Cutting boards should last you for many years if they're kept and maintained properly.
As you can see I love animal-themed cutting boards.  I find them to be adorable!

Through years of rolling out, cutting and baking cookies, I've come to learn a thing or two.  Revisit this post for a few things to remember when rolling out cookie doughs.  These types of doughs are good for any special occasion, but they're also wonderful to bake just because.  
This particular antique daisy cookie cutter was given to me by an antique dealer many years ago.  I cherish it.

By the way, this dough that I'm working with in the post is the Hungarian Cookie dough from above.  It's such a wonderful dough to work with and it's one that I highly recommend starting with if you're new to this type of cookie baking.  Enjoy many seasons of making these cookies!

I'm not one for giant, crippling snowstorms, but a light dusting of snow this time of year is always beautiful.  

There is still a little bit of snow on the ground which hasn't melted just yet because the temperatures have been quite cold, but I'll tell you, the landscape looks completely different today as I write this.
Our snow covered home.

Here's to more wonderful things in December! 

2 comments:

  1. Thank you David, you are an inspiration to many.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're welcome Joy! I wish you and your loved ones a great holiday.

    ReplyDelete

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