Thanksgiving at Home-4 Weeks and 6 recipes to the perfect Thanksgiving Dinner

The holiday marathon has begun.  We are off and running the frantic race of planning, shopping and preparing holiday meals from Thanksgiving to New Year’s and everything in between.  Over the next four weeks follow us and by the time the month is over, we promise a unique and delicious Thanksgiving meal fit for both family and friends.

Happy Holidays.

  Ann and Lisa

Week 1 Pumpkin Maple Prosecco with Goat Cheese and Cranberry Crostini

Week 2 Roasted Sweet Potatoes with grilled corn and leeks and

Parsnip, Turnip and Roast Garlic Puree with fresh thyme

Week 3 Chipotle-Honey Glazed Roast Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy

Week 4 Pumpkin Bread Pudding with cinnamon whipped cream

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Baking Brownies with Jesse

My son, Jesse, is 16 and rarely wants to spend any time with his mother these days, so when he asks, “can we make brownies” I am all over it. Actually, if the truth be told, he can and has made them himself many times and they are always quite delicious. Brownies are a good place to start for kids who want to bake something by themselves. They have simple ingredients, are fast and easy enough to put together and provide enough gratification to first bakers that will keep them hooked for future baking endeavors . But we make this batch together, he cracks the eggs and I add the sugar, he mixes the batter, I grease the pan. In the oven they go. The smell permeates the house. They come out of the oven and typical teenage style, he cannot wait for them to cool. He cuts one, and then another and after he has eaten 3 or 4, he has had enough. He won’t eat anymore. But that’s okay. The time spent together is what counts. There is so little of it left. Now if I could only get him to do the clean-up…..
First time Baker Brownies
3/4 cup butter
9 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 eggs
3 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and sugar together in 30 second increments in microwave, stirring after each 30 seconds until chocolate is melted. Set aside. In large bowl crack eggs and add sugar and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add chocolate mixture until well combined. With rubber spatula stir in flour and salt until just mixed. Do not over mix. Pour into 9 -inch square cake pan that has been sprayed with non-stick coating. Bake 25-35 minutes until toothpick comes out slightly full of chocolate. Do not over bake. Cool completely. Cut into 12 squares. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and watch your teenager come running.
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The Pumpkin Patch

As I mentioned before, I adore autumn. The abundance of color and smells are intoxicating. One of the great joys is going to a pumpkin patch to pick the perfect pumpkin. Whether it is just for a fall decoration or to carve for a Jack-o-Lantern it is a fun acitivity for a crisp fall day. If you go to a farm stand they will always have pumpkins that can be used for baking and cooking. They are usually small and not as fiberous as the carving type. It is easy to use them, just split in half, remove seeds and place face down on a non stick baking sheet and roast in a 350 degree oven until fork tender. You can also roast the pumpkin seeds on a separate sheet pan . After roasting them sprinkle with a little Kosher salt and they are a delicous and healthy snack.
There are so many recipes to make using fresh or canned pumpkin. Pumpkin is so versitile , it can be used for both savory or sweet recipes. I have included a recipe for one of my favorite cakes. It is a Pumpkin Spice Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing garnished with pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and chopped walnuts. Put a pot of mulled cider on the stove while baking this cake and you will engulf yourself with a kitchen full of fall’s delectable aromas.
Happy Fall


Pumpkin Spice Cake
12 oz. sweet butter
1 cup sugar
1 c light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
2 c all purpose flour
1 cup of pumpkin puree (either fresh or canned)
1/2 c buttermilk
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg

Cream butter and sugars together in a bowl of a stand mixer or use a hand mixer. Add egss one at a time until well incorporated. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Mix. IN a separate bowl sift all dry ingredients together. Add alternately with buttermilk.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 2 9″ layer cake pans, divide the batter equally. Bake for 25 -30 minutes.
Cook in pan for 20 minutes and turn out onto a cooling rack. Ice with pumpkin cream cheese icing and decorate the top with a mixture of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and chopped walnuts.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing

1 pound of softened cream cheese
3/4 cup softened unsalted butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
2 t fresh lemon juice
1/4 c pumpkin puree

Put cream cheese and butter in bowl of of stand mixer. Slowly add sugar. MIx together well and add pumpkin , vanilla and lemon juice, Mix well and ice tops and sides of cakes.
Decorate with nut mixture.

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I didn’t grow up in a Jewish household.  I didn’t grow up in a household with any sort of religion at all, really.  But now, all grown up, with children of my own, I look forward to the couple times a year when I can celebrate the Jewish holidays with my mother who is Jewish and has become more so over the years.  We gather at her house for Passover and Rosh Hashanah and celebrating the holiday becomes more about having a nice meal together than anything else. She makes her brisket with lima beans, matzah ball soup, roast chicken with carrots, and then for dessert she makes this Apple Torte.  It is a cake that you will hanker for, it is a cake that a friend of mine from 35 years ago, when she “friended” me on Facebook asked about, it is a cake that is really like no other.  And what makes it even more special, is that it is from a little cookbook that no one has ever heard about. My mother was reticent to share the recipe with me and who knows how she will react when she discovers that I have shared the recipe with you. But here it is and I hope that it can become a tradition in your household as well.


Part 1.

1/4 lb. butter

1 cup sugar

1 3/4 cups all purpose pre-sifted flour

2 large eggs

2 tsps. baking powder

8 to 10 large Macintosh apples

Melt butter in a saucepan; add sugar gradually, beating well. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly. Add the flour, which has been combined with baking powder. Beat the mixture well. Spread on bottom of 9-inch spring form pan. Pare and core apples and cuts in quarters or eighths. Stand apples on end in mixture until the whole mixture is covered with apples. (Looks like a flower of apples.) Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Part 2.

1/8 lb. softened or melted butter

1/2 cup of light brown sugar

2 eggs

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs. Pour over top of baked torte and bake until the custard sets, about 30 minutes at 325.

The NAOMI COOKBOOK is a collection of recipes assembled by members of the Naomi Chapter of Toronto

to mark 40 years of service in the Hadassah Organization of Canada. It was first published in 1928.

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Fall Foods

Maybe it is because I grew up in New England , but the autumn is my favorite season. I adore the weather, the foliage and above everything I love the foods. The squashes and the root vegetables are a feast unto themselves. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing some of our favorite fall menus with you. I started off the list with a Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Pizza. I rolled the dough out length wise instead of round just because I like the shape better. You can use store bought pizza dough or homemade if you would like. I brushed the rolled out dough with a little olive oil before layering goat cheese and fresh mozzarella on top. I sprinkled par cooked cubed butternut squash on top of the cheese and sprinkled generously with parmesan cheese. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes. Use as an appetizer of a main dish.

More recipes to come


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The perfect Apple Pie

Nothing is more homey and delicious than a homemade Apple Pie. If you are fortunate to live in an area that is apple growing then you know September and October are the harvest times. In the Northeast we start off with the early varieties such as Honey Crisps, Macouns and of course Macitosh. I salivate just anticipating the first bite of a crisp,tart bite of a honey crisp.
Now as far as baking everyone has there true blue favorites, Some bakers look for the tartness and some look for firmness and a sweeter variety. I have to say my favorite for apple pie is a granny smith. I do not gravite towards them for eating but I like the way they hold up during baking as well as the perfect amount of crispness. I have photographed a fresh out of the oven pie and included our recipe for both pie crust and filling for what we consider to be the near perfection of apple pies.

Enjoy and remember to eat your apples


Pie Crust -makes 2 9″ single crusted or 1 9″ double crusted pie

1 1/2 c ups all purpose flour

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter

1/4 cup ice cold butter

Place flour in a bowl. Cut butter in using 2 butter knives or a pastry cutter. The butter should remain the size of small marbles. Pour water in slowly and use your hands to bring mixture together. Be careful not to overwork dough. Use only enough water so the dough clings together. Divide the dough in two and wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least a half hour . You can make ahead and leave in refrigerator up to 1 week.

When you are ready to roll out dough, lightly flour board as well as rolling pin. Press down dough and roll in one direction. Be sure to turn over dough frequently to prevent sticking. Roll out to about a 10″ circle. Place into a 9″ pie pan. Fill with apple mixture and roll out top crust. Crimp the edges with fork tines or fingers. When pie is assembled place in refrigerator for 30 minutes. This will secure the butter firms up again and assures a flakier crust.

Apple Filling

8 Granny Smith apples-peeled,cored and sliced

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 t ground cinnamon

1 egg mixed with a 1T water

Mix apples,flour, sugar and cinnamon together. Place into pie crust as instructed above

After removing assembled pie from refrigerator brush with egg wash and sprinkle with 2 t of granulated sugar. Bake in 350 degree over for approx 45 – 50 minutes until the juices run from the pie and the crust in golden brown.

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From CSA to table

What has been most fun about the CSA is being able to get the stuff home and use it right away. It has been a creative outlet of sorts that my family has come to look forward to.  This week there was summer’s end vegetables a plenty.  Eggplant, peppers, the last of the tomatoes, collard greens, onions and jalapenos.  The ingredients spoke to me very clearly this week.  Ratatouille.  I am not a huge ratatouille fan but this simple recipe was really quite tasty.  And the best thing about vegetables that come at the end of summer is that fall is not far behind.

Summer’s End Ratatouille

(4-6 healthy servings)

1 large onion, sliced     2 cloves garlic, chopped     1 red pepper, thinly sliced     1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes     4 medium tomatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces     6 leaves collard or other such greens, chopped roughly

salt and pepper to taste     1/2 cup olive oil

In large skillet add oil, onion, garlic, both peppers and jalapeno.  Cook over medium-low heat until all vegetables are wilted.  Stir in eggplant, cover and let simmer 15 minutes.  Add tomatoes and collard greens, stirring very well.  Cook an additional 20-25 minutes until eggplant is very tender and tomatoes has released all their juices.

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How much is enough zucchini

Every year about the beginning of August I make a vow to myself that I will not plant another zucchini  for as long as I shall live.  I make this promise because every year because it seems that no matter how much zucchini I pick and use, there is more zucchini waiting on the vine calling my name.  I have so much zucchini I run out of ideas on what to do with it.  Cold zucchini soup, zucchini pancakes, grilled zucchini, fried zucchini, zucchini parmesan, and lastly, zucchini bread.  This year I have decided to make Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Bread.  I have made 6 loaves so far and have not even scratched the zucchini surface of my fridge.  Tomorrow night we are going to a friend’s house for dinner.  Wanna know what I am bringing?  You guessed it!  Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Bread.  Hope he likes it.  Here is the recipe.  Hope you like it too.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread
Yield: 2 loaves

3 eggs

½ cup butter, melted

¼ cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups grated zucchini

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spray two 8×4 inch loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla.

Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as nuts and chocolate chips if you are using them.

Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into prepared pans.

Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool before slicing.  Happy Eating!

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A Summer Supper

We are starting to enjoy some produce other than greens from the garden. I picked some lovely cucumbers this weekend and made one of my favorite salads. Cucumber and Dill with vidalla onions. I have included the recipe. It is such a light and delicous side dish. As I have mentioned before my daughter is quite the foodie and she asked if I would make Lobster Rolls for dinner. I could not think of a better compliment to the cucumber salad. Since I am a Bostonian from birth , this is a beloved meal of mine.
I steamed and shelled the lobster, mixed with a small amount of mayo and piled the salad into a top split grilled hot dog roll. Perfection in a bun.
I am sure this will not be the last time we will indulge in this scrumptous dinner.
Happy Summer

Cucumber and Dill Salad
2 medium cucumber-sliced very thin
1 small vidalla onion
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 T chopped fresh dill
2 t kosher salt
2 t sugar
1/2 t ground black pepper
Place all ingredients in a glass bowl. Chill for 1 hour before eating.

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A Summer CSA

For those of you who do not know a CSA is a food co-op of sorts.  A group of people get together and sponsor a local farmer who then brings to the group whatever veggie goodies happen to be in season that week.  The CSA that Ann and I joined also includes local beef and pork products.  We decided to split a share for the first year to see how we liked it.  We are on our 4th week and each week gets better and better.  Watermelon radishes,  sugar snap peas,  japenese kale that is delicate and tasty to thick sliced bacon and breakfast sausage.  The excitement grows each week as the summer harvest gets more and more bountiful.  Ann is on vacation this week so I get the share to myself. I wait in eager anticipation….pictures to follow.

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