Rum Caramel Apple Cheesecake + 5 Comforting Dessert Links

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A letter to my daughter post 2016 Election

Dear Charlotte,

A few days before the election you asked me to make a cheesecake.  I agreed, deciding on an apple cheesecake that felt both celebratory and as American, as… well, apple pie.  [Your big, beautiful green eyes sparkled with anticipation as you watched me drizzle caramel sauce all over the cheesecake.  Do you know how much I love your eyes, sweet girl?]  The eve before the election while we were eating dinner you excitedly told me your school held a mock election and…

Guess what, Mama?

Before I can say: what?

She won! Hillary Clinton won!  Those eyes, again, so excited, so hopeful.

Do you think she will win Mama?  Yes, goose, I think she will win.  You seemed satisfied with my answer.   And then asked: Can I have the last piece cheesecake?

Like a huntress enjoying every bite of her prey, you devoured the remaining piece of cheesecake, a smile spreading across your face.  You will remember this cheesecake, I thought.

You voted with Daddy on Election Day, which now, more than ever, seems appropriate. You watched a man, a good, kind, intelligent, tolerant man, vote for the first nominated female presidential candidate.

Later that night, we put the three of you to bed, reassuring you and your brothers: yes she will win.  I promised you, no matter how late, I would wake you, so you could watch the celebration.  See the glass ceiling shatter.  See progress.

I felt hopeful watching the returns comes in.  [She can do this, she will do this!]  And then my stomach tightened.  What is happening?  I wanted to scream, cry, throw something at the TV.  I did none of those things.  I went to bed, dismayed by the country I love.

We never fell asleep.  We never woke you.

This can not be happening. 

When I went into your room the next morning to wake you for school, I stumbled over my words.  No she didn’t win.  Yes I am sad, I am angry.  But.  But, it is time to get out of bed and start the day.  [What the hell am I saying?  You can’t run from this one.]

With wild hair and sleep still in your eyes you asked: Mamawhy do they think a girl can’t do the job?   I looked into your pensive, sea green eyes and said: I’m not sure.  I wish I had better words for you.  I’m sorry.  I’m at a loss.   [I hate at just nine years old, you understand some people think girls and women are not as capable.  I will tell you this later.]

The thing is Charlotte there are many reasons why she didn’t win.  Right now, everyone is pointing fingers at one group or another.  I blame myself.  I was lazy and complacent. I should have fought harder, donated, volunteered.  Never again.  Someday there will be a female president.  Maybe it will be you? Or a friend? Or a complete stranger.  She is coming, it is just a matter of time.

Please remember…you matter, you matter, you matter. Kind, capable, brave and smart, you are what this world needs…always.

Love,

Mama

Rum Caramel Apple Cheesecake

recipe adapted from Bobby Flay

Serves 8

Ingredients for crust:

12 whole graham crackers

2 tablespoons sugar

5 tablespoons melted butter

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Add graham crackers and brown sugar to a food processor fitted with a blade attachment.  Pulse until finely ground.  While the motor is running add the melted butter and process until the mixture just comes together.  Spray the bottom and sides on a 9-inch spring form pan with cooking spray.  Pat the mixture evenly across the bottom of the pan.  Place on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Once cool, wrap your spring form pan in foil, covering the sides.   (The foil will keep the water bath you create later from seeping into the cheesecake.)

Ingredients for cheesecake filling:

zest of 1 lemon

3 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup lemon sugar (see directions)

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 large vanilla bean, seeds scraped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Zest 1 lemon.  Combine 1/4 cup of sugar with lemon zest.  Mix with your fingers until wet and well combined.  Using a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, add the cream cheese and beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the lemon sugar, remaining granulated sugar and brown sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, only 1 at a time, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.  Add the vanilla seeds and vanilla extract and beat until combined.  Add the salt and heavy cream and mix until just incorporated.

Pour the mixture over the prepared crust.  Place the spring form pan in a large roasting pan.  Pour hot water into the roasting pan until the water is halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.   Place in the oven and bake until the cheesecake is puffed and the center still jiggles, about 55 minutes.

Turn off the heat and prop open the oven door with a wooden spoon.  Allow the cake to cook like this for 60 minutes.  Remove cake and allow to cool for 2 hours.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Next make apple mixture and rum caramel sauce!  Keep going it is worth it!

Ingredients for Apple Mixture:

2 cups apple juice (unsweetened)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 vanilla bean (leftover from cheesecake)

1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

3 Granny Smith apple, peeled and thinly sliced

3 Fuji apples, peeled, thinly sliced

1/4 cup rum

Directions:

Combine apple juice, sugar and vanilla bean in a large sauté pan.  Bring to a boil.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Add the apple slices and cook until soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes.  Add the rum and continue to cook over medium heat until reduced by 1/2.  Using a slotted spoon remove the apples, place in a bowl and allow to cool a bit.  Set aside.

Ingredients for Rum Caramel Sauce:

1 + 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup water

3/4 cup heavy cream

generous pinch of salt

3 tablespoons of rum

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat without stirring.  Swirl the pot once or twice and continue to cook until it turns amber, about 12 minutes.

When the caramel is a rich amber, remove from heat.  Slowly and carefully whisk in the heavy cream.  Add the salt and whisk until smooth.  Stir in the rum and vanilla extract.  Keep warm until ready to use or gently reheat on the stove, if necessary.

Assembly!

Remove the ring of the spring form pan surrounding the cheesecake.  Top the cheesecake with the warm apple mixture, drizzle with rum caramel sauce.  Save extra sauce and serve on the side.  Enjoy!

**The cheesecake can be made two days ahead.  Keep covered and refrigerated.  The apple mixture and rum caramel sauce can be made one day ahead.  Cover and refrigerate.  When ready to use, gently reheat in the microwave or on the stove.**

5 Comforting Dessert Links

A warm, gooey, freshly baked chocolate chip helps mend a broken heart.  Head to Smitten Kitchen for Deb’s consummate chocolate chip cookie recipe.

A pan of brownies and a glass of milk will aid in curing whatever ails you.  Head to the Crepes of Wrath for Ina Garten’s outrageous brownies with 2 kinds of chocolate.

Chocolate not your thing? How about a crisp pate a choux shell filled with a silky vanilla rum custard.  Eats Well With Others has the recipe for you.

A warm citrus pudding cake may add a little brightness even on the darkest days.  Food 52 has the recipe for you.

Is cheesecake your go to when your not sure where to go from here?  Check out my recipe for blueberry cheesecake bars.

 

 

Apple Pear Pie with Oat Streusel + 5 Unique Fall Pie Links

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My mother was prettiest in the fall: her milky white skin, blue-gray eyes, auburn hair, easy smile and perfect profile more beautiful in the diminishing autumn light competing (unbeknownst to her) with the glory of the burgundy, yellow and copper leaves, both awe-inspiring and short-lived.  Like the leaves, the best part of her shown brightest before the dreary winter settled in.  She understood this cycle of her life, allowed it, succumbed to it.

And so, as a child, I breathed her in, filled my lungs with her happiness and carried it with me through the long, intense winters, wet springs and steamy summers.

I love fall, she said with her hands wrapped loosely around the steering wheel of our blue Ford Taurus station wagon, her long fingers and perfectly manicured nails dancing to a song on the radio.  The car window cracked a few inches allowing the crisp air to rush in and mix with her perfume.  (Mama’s best smell.)

Me too, Mama!  Her three ducklings cheered almost in unison, eagerly anticipating caramel apples covered in peanuts, bulbous pumpkins and warm cider.

She smiled, briefly checking herself in the rear-view mirror.  

What are you looking at Mama?  You haven’t disappeared…not yet.

The mother I clung to like a barnacle adhered to the hull of a ship, returned year after year, fall after fall, until she didn’t.  It wasn’t sad.  She made a choice.  Maybe we had outgrown her or she us.  The weight of a divorce, three children growing away from her too fast, a life she wasn’t sure how to repair.  And if I were to ponder why, why, why, the answer would still baffle me.  It is easy to choose happiness when you are not unhappy.

Occasionally, I see glimpses of the mama I remember in the mother I have now: an easy smile when we celebrate my older son’s October birthday as he delights in her perfect birthday gift (Air War Battle Drones! Cool, Mimi!); decorating paper bag Halloween lanterns for our front porch with our girl, happily accepting a sticky kiss from our chubby pumpkin costumed toddler.  I store these memories of her, hold on to the glimpses of happiness I see today, if only to retrieve them when winter comes again.

Apple Pear Pie with Oat Streusel            

Apple and pears, lightly sweetened and baked to perfection topped with a buttery, crunchy oat streusel 

recipe adapted from Epicurious

Pie Crust recipe adapted from Nothing In The House

Serves 8

Ingredients for filling:

3 pounds Cortland apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces

2 lbs pears (I used Bartlett)

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

good pinch of kosher salt

Ingredients for pie crust:

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 + 1/2 sticks very cold, unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1 large egg, cold, lightly beaten

1/4 cup ice-water

1/2 tablespoon cold apple cider vinegar

Oat Topping:

3/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 dark brown sugar, packed

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon allspice

7 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter

1/2 cup old fashion oats

Directions for crust:

*Pre-heat your oven to 400F*

Grab a large mixing bowl and whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Add the butter chunks and mix with your fingertips making sure pea-size chunks of butter remain.   Using a small bowl, whisk together the cold egg, water and vinegar.  Add the liquid to the flour/butter mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.  It should be a bit shaggy.  Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour before rolling out.  The longer you let it chill, the better.

When ready to bake, lightly flour a piece of parchment and place dough on paper.  Cover with another piece of parchment paper and roll to a 12 inch round.  Remove parchment paper and press crust gently into pie dish.  Turn dough overhang under and crimp the edges.  Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

Directions for the filling:

Toss all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl.  Set aside and prepare the topping.

For the topping:

Blend the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, allspice in a food processor.  Add the butter and pulse until a dough forms that resembles wet sand.  Add oats and pulse briefly.

Stir the filling and add it to the prepared pie crust.  Sprinkle the topping evenly over the pie.  Place pie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (to catch spills.)  Bake until top is golden brown, about 40 minutes.  Reduce the temperature to 350F and bake for another 50-60 minutes.  *If the top is browning too quickly, cover pie loosely with foil.*  Cool pie on a wire rack for at least an hour before serving.  Serve warm or at room temperature as is or with scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

*Pie will last loosely covered in foil at room temperature for a few days.*

5 Unique Fall Pie Links

Apples and fall go hand in hand, but why not switch things up and focus on pears for a bit? Head to Joy the Baker for her bourbon pear crumble pie.  I can’t wait to try this!

Looking for a twist on pumpkin pie?  Head to Love and Olive Oil for a s’mores pumpkin pie recipe that sure to make everyone smile.  Also, check out my pumpkin pie bars.  Pie in bar form = easy serving to guests.  Insert fist pump here.

Bruleed butternut squash pie.  Are you curious?  Me too.  Head to Lemon Fire Brigade for the recipe.  And while you are there check out caramel apple blackberry pie.

 

Pumpkin Pie Bars + 5 Not A Pie Desserts For Thanksgiving!

 

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We threw a “pre-holiday” party last weekend.  Local friends came over for drinks and conversation sans children.  Chatting and drinking with friends we only see at soccer games, school pick-ups/drop offs and fundraisers felt like a luxury.  A luxury? Yes.  Most of the time we see each other harried, running off to the next activity, chatting briefly before a little person tugs on our arm, it’s time to go…again.  As if we are on a treadmill without a stop button, we just keep going.  Saturday night we stopped.  We drank and laughed and ate.

Before long friends left to relieve sitters.  We happily enjoyed our final sips and bites before taking on the mess in our kitchen.  I didn’t mind cleaning up this mess.  There is something beautiful about a post party mess, as if, bits of people are left behind, their energy still enveloping the room.  After we cleaned the last glass, swept the last crumb and recycled the final beer bottle; we collapsed into bed.  It was a perfectly unusual Saturday night for me and Bubba.

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Pumpkin Pie Bars with Baked Press In Chocolate Crust

I made these bars for our “pre-holiday” party. The bars are similar to a traditional pumpkin pie, spicy and comforting, but with a slight twist: the crust is chocolate and requires no rolling!  This simple, press-in chocolate crust is much easier to make than a traditional pie crust, so you won’t feel inclined to tear your hair out or chug a bottle of Malbec!  Also, the whole dessert can be made up to two days in advance! 

Makes 12 large bars or 24 mini bars

recipe adapted from Food & Wine

Ingredients for Baked Pressed In Chocolate Crust

2 1/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 tablespoon of water

Directions For Crust:

Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, leaving about 2 inches of overhang on the long sides. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars at medium speed for a few minutes, 2-3.   With the mixer on low-speed, beat in the sifted flour, unsweetened cocoa powder and salt.

Place the dough in your prepared pan and press it evenly over the bottom.  (The original recipe suggests covering the dough with plastic wrap and pressing with the bottom of a measuring cup.  This sounds like a great idea, but I forgot to do it. Your fingers will work well too!)  Refrigerate the dough in the pan until firm.

Bake the crust for about 30 minutes.   The cocoa powder will make it difficult to tell if it is cooked perfectly, so be sure to remove the pan from the oven at 30 minutes or when the surface looks dry.  Allow to cool completely before filling.  While the crust cools, prepare your pumpkin pie filling.

Ingredients for Pumpkin Pie Filling

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon + more for dusting

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs

One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree

One 12-ounce can evaporated milk

Prepared whipped cream

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425F.  In a small bowl whisk together the sugars, all of the spices and salt. Set aside.  In a medium bowl whisk together your eggs.  Whisk the sugar mixture into the egg mixture.  Next, add your pumpkin puree, evaporated milk and vanilla extract.  Whisk until very smooth.

Pour the filling into the crust and bake for about 10 minutes.  Lower the temperature to 350F and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until the filling is set.  It should not jiggle!

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.  Cut into bars, large or mini, and serve with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.

I suggest making the bars a day head and storing them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.  The flavors are more pronounced a day later.  Serve them chilled or at room temperature.  Also, add the whipped cream just before serving or have guests add their own whipped cream.  Enjoy!

5 Not Pie Desserts For Thanksgiving

Looking for a lighter pumpkin cake to serve after the big holiday meal?  Head to Food 52 for Alice Medrich’s Lighter Pumpkin Cake recipe.

Tired of pies and cakes?  Try a crisp.  A pumpkin pear crisp! Bon Appetit has the recipe for you.  Check it out!

Not worried about eating all the calories you need for a week in a day?  Then head to Sacramento Street for Amanda Fredrickson’s Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting.  Wow!  I must make these!

After a big, heavy meal it is nice to have a light and refreshing dessert…sometimes.  Martha has a recipe for cranberry-port sorbet that sounds like the perfect palate cleanser.

I’ve mentioned Zoe’s maple cream snickerdoodle bars before and I am mentioning them again.  I am obsessed and need to make them asap!

 

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing + 5 Easy Halloween Dessert Links!

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“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I’ve ended up where I needed to be.” Douglas Adams

Happy accident. Serendipity. Stroke of luck.  This is how my pumpkin oatmeal cake came to be.  Like so many other things in my life I chose a path hoping for a certain outcome, made a couple of gut feeling choices and luckily the result turned out great.  We received a sugar pumpkin in our CSA last week.  What the hell am I going to do with this thing?  I’ve never roasted a pumpkin before because the can stuff suits me just fine.  Why mess with easy and delicious?  Choices are tough.  I could put the pumpkin on our porch and let the squirrels have it, use a can of pumpkin puree that’s been sitting in my pantry for two years or roast a farm fresh sugar pumpkin.  I went for it and roasted the pumpkin. You never know where one decision might lead.

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Well my choice lead me to Alton Brown’s recipe for pumpkin puree.  I cut the sweet little pumpkin in half with my best knife.  (He suggests using a cleaver, but I don’t own one, I’m not there…yet.)  I scooped out the seeds and let the kids play with the goo.  They loved it and they made a huge mess, but they were occupied.  Hooray!  I sprinkled the flesh with kosher salt and roasted each half, flesh side down, for about 30 minutes.  My house smelled like pure, earthy pumpkin.  Once the pumpkin was fork tender, I removed it from the oven and allowed it to cool for an hour.  After a quick hour, I scooped up the flesh and spooned it into my food processor; minutes later I had fresh pumpkin puree. Easy!

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I set out to make Martha’s Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing.  Her recipe called for canned, solid pumpkin puree, and my puree was anything but solid.  It was more like stage 2 baby food, a little thick, but not solid.  Once I noticed how watery the batter was, I decided to add 2 cups of oatmeal for a little health and chewiness; still planning on cookies not a cake.  Then I noticed the time.  The kids were getting restless and the baby would be up from his nap soon.  Bars! The quick version of a cookie!  I had a ton of batter so I chose a 9×13 pan.  I poured the batter into my prepared pan and popped it in the oven. Fifteen minutes later, I peeked through the oven door and saw the batter rising higher than expected, slowly forming a golden brown pumpkin cake.   I expected bars.  I wanted moist, perfectly spiced, slightly chewy pumpkin bars.  My choices lead to a new dessert, a new plan.

Once the cake cooked and cooled, I took a little piece from the corner.  Moist, sweet and nicely spiced…it was good?!  Cake needs frosting or icing.  I love maple and pumpkin together, so I made an easy maple cream cheese icing.  I attempted to artistically drizzle the icing all over the cake, but it looked more like my 4-year-old got a hold of the icing.  I smoothed over the icing and sprinkled it with a bit of cinnamon.  I cut myself a piece of cake, took a big bite and enjoyed my happy accident.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

This cake is moist, dense and perfectly sweet.  The fresh pumpkin makes a difference you can taste: earthy and subtly sweet.  The oatmeal adds a surprising texture to the cake.  The maple cream cheese icing pairs well with the pumpkin and can be easily doubled if you want a thick layer of icing.  This is an easy dessert for the upcoming holiday season. Enjoy!

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart and Epicurious

serves 10-12

Ingredients for Cake:

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

3/4 cups white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

pinch of ground cloves

2 cups of old fashion oats

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups packed light-brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions for cake:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Line a 13×9 metal baking pan with parchment paper.  Lightly, grease and flour the parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and oatmeal; set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl half way through. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.  Reduce the speed to low and add the pumpkin, evaporated milk and vanilla.  Mix until well combined.  (**The batter may separate at this point, but don’t worry it will be fine once you add the dry ingredients.**)

Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and smooth out the top.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean or the cake springs back when lightly touched.  Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.  Once cool, carefully remove the cake.  Remove the parchment paper and decorate the cake with maple cream cheese icing and serve.  The cake is best the day it is made, but tastes great the next day too.  If you have any cake left, store it at room temperature in an air-tight container.  Enjoy!

Maple Cream Cheese Icing

makes about 2 cups but can easily be doubled

Ingredients:

1 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Directions:

Using a stand mixer beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the sifted sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and pinch of salt.  Beat until very smooth and decorate your cake.

5 Easy Halloween Dessert Links!

Need a quick and easy finger food dessert for your Halloween party? Head to Willow Bird baking for her maple cream snickerdoodle bars.  I must make these!

Offer some nut-free Halloween treats this year!  The kitchen has a list of 5 nut-free Halloween treats that both kids and adults will love. Check it out!

If you love Halloween Oreos try making your own!  Better yet, try my recipe.  So good!

I love caramel.  Two Red Bowl’s recipe for apple cider crème fraiche caramels has me motivated to attempt candy making again!

Have time to make candy and want to keep it sorta healthy on Halloween?  Head to Edible Perspective for chocolate pumpkin almond butter cups.  Yes please!

Cranberry Chutney Roast Turkey Sandwich + 5 Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

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Thanksgiving is just 6 days away and I can’t wait for a total day of gluttony. I love turkey and all the side dishes but my favorite part of the meal is the perfect bite. For me the perfect bite is a bit of turkey, stuffing, sweet potato and cranberry sauce. I love salty and sweet combos. I also love Thanksgiving leftovers. Who doesn’t?

I came up with a sandwich this week that will utilize leftovers and give that perfect salty sweet bite. The sandwich consists of roast turkey, arugula, sharp cheddar and of course cranberry chutney. The star of this sandwich is the cranberry chutney. This chutney is so good I could eat by the spoonful. I found the recipe on Epicurious.com. (Check out this site if you haven’t already. They have tons of recipes, menu ideas and helpful articles.) I altered the chutney only slightly by adding clementine zest. The zest adds a brightness to the sweet chutney. Also, I bought a loaf of cranberry fennel bread from my favorite local bakery but I think fresh sourdough or multi-grain bread will work just as well.

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Shallots, ginger and garlic simmer with the fresh cranberries for about 12 minutes. I love how sweet shallots become after they cook for a while.

ccrts0008I combined the sugar and clementine zest with my fingers before adding it to the cranberries. Combining the sugar and zest this way allows the oils from the zest to become more pronounced.ccrts0014This chutney takes about 20 minutes to put together and yields about 2 cups. It can made a week ahead and refrigerated. I love recipes I can make ahead of time! so instead of cranberry sauce this year make cranberry chutney. You won’t be disappointed and if you are lucky there will be leftovers for sandwiches the next day.

Cranberry Chutney with Clementine Zest

recipe barely adapted from Epicurious.com

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients:

5 shallots coarsely chopped

1 1/2 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil

1 (12 oz) bag of fresh cranberries

2/3 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of cider vinegar

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp peeled, minced ginger

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

zest of 2 clementines

Directions:

Cook chopped shallots over medium heat in 3 quart sauce pan, stirring occasionally, until soft but not brown, about 5-10 minutes. Add sugar, vinegar, garlic, ginger, kosher salt and black pepper. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until berries pop. Remove from heat and fold in the clementine zest. Allow to cool before serving or cover and refrigerate for up to a week.

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Cranberry Chutney, Roast Turkey, Cheddar and Arugula Sandwich 

Ingredients:

Left over turkey or store-bought roast turkey

cranberry chutney

good quality sharp cheddar cheese

arugula

fresh crusty bread (I used cranberry fennel bread but sourdough or multigrain will work as well.)

Directions:

Add a heaping spoonful of cranberry chutney to already sliced bread. Top with as much turkey, cheddar and arugula as you want. Enjoy with a cold beer!

5 Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers:

After all the hard work preparing an awesome Thanksgiving meal, the next day should be easy. If you have leftovers, use them! If not order a pizza and relax. You deserve it!

I love Banh Mi sandwiches. Instead of pork, use left over turkey. Find the recipe here.

Turkey BLT anyone? Head here.

Ya, I am on a sandwich kick. If you like bacon and blue cheese, try this sandwich.

If you need a little comfort before tackling Christmas shopping, make this soup.

I love a good Waldorf salad. Check out the food network’s recipe.