Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

In his book, Thanksgiving, Sam Sifton makes the case that salads have no business being a part of the Thanksgiving spread.

“A salad is a perfect accompaniment to many meals, a hit of astringency that can improve some dinners hugely. Not this one. You can have your salad tomorrow.” {Sam Sifton, via Cup of Jo}

Well folks, it’s tomorrow.

I hope that each and every one of you had the happiest of Thanksgivings full of family, football, and most importantly, lots of good food. Am I right or am I right that you kind of never want to look at food again?

I’m also wagering that you have lots of leftovers hanging out in your fridge.

I’ve been making this little salad at least once a week all fall, and I’ve been dying to share it with y’all. It dawned on me a couple days ago that many of these veggies were probably on your thanksgiving tables, so in the spirit of Thanksgiving, be grateful for those leftovers. They’re about to be a truly great salad.

In the directions, I walk you through roasting the veggies, but really you can throw your already cooked leftovers in there and it will be a winner. It’s completely adaptable, so go wild!

Roasted sweet potatoes or yams with candied pecans? Add it.

The always present brussels that the kids wouldn’t touch? Add them.

Cranberry sauce? Why not?

How are you using up your Thanksgiving leftovers?

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

serves 2-4 depending on how hungry they are

{This genius recipe is from the lovely lady behind Naturally Ella, Erin. Very, very rarely do I follow recipes exactly. There are usually things I add or take away in order to improve or adapt the recipe to our tastes. I didn’t have to do any of that for this ingredient list. It’s pretty much perfection. I do have a few procedural short cuts to add though, so I thought I’d share it.}

1 loaf of Erin’s cornbread

To Roast
1 small sweet potato, cubed
about 15 brussels sprouts, quartered

To Toss
about 2 cups of spinach, {this is your salad base so adjust accordingly for how much you think you’ll eat}
6 oz blue cheese, crumbled

The Dressing
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp sweet whole grain mustard {we use Handelmeier}

Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C.

Whip up a loaf of Erin’s cornbread and pop it in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. {To keep dirty bowls to a minimum, I always combine my wet ingredients in a mixing bowl first and then place a sieve over the bowl and measure my dry ingredients into it.}

While the cornbread is cooking, wash and chop your veggies. Leaving the skin on, because there are tons of nutrients in that stuff, chop your sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Cut off the base and quarter the brussels. Put them in your roasting pan and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Give them a toss and put them in the oven to roast for around 45 minutes.

about 15 minutes before the veggies are done roasting, chop your cornbread into little squares, toss with olive oil and rosemary and add them to the roasting pan to toast them up.

While those finish, put your spinach in a large mixing bowl and crumble the cheese over it. Also go ahead and shake up your dressing. {I put all of the ingredients in a mason jar and give it a shake. Super easy and beats the heck out of the store bought stuff in terms of flavor.}

When the veggies and croutons come out of the oven, transfer them to the big bowl and pour the dressing over the whole thing. Give it a toss and serve.

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

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Pumpkin Pudding Pie in a Spekulatius Crust

The Kiwi is a pie person. Seriously, the man loves pie. But sadly, since the person doing the baking {i.e. me} is more of a cake lover, he doesn’t get them very often. The only two occasions he can count on having pie is his birthday and Thanksgiving.

Case in point, last Thanksgiving, despite having the flu,  I went all out making bacon wrapped turkey, some disastrous stuffing, the very best cranberry sauce, mashed sweet potatoes, and, the crowning glory, a pumpkin pie… from scratch.

I’d love nothing more than to have a repeat of last year {with better dressing}, but it’s just not in the cards this year. Most of my precious kitchen tools have either been shipped or sold, and all we have left are the things that came with the apartment which includes, um, basically nothing useful. Plus, we deep cleaned for an inspection that was supposed to happen Monday but is now happening Saturday, so we have to keep the house spotless. No big Thanksgiving feast will be happening in that kitchen this year.

Now, I could wax poetic about gratitude and how it should be present in our lives everyday, not just Thanksgiving. It’s just a day after all. {A day followed, I might mention, by it’s antithesis, Black Friday, which in my opinion is one of the most atrocious American holiday traditions. Ever.}

But really, I do love this day of celebration: for thanks, for generosity, for family.

Don’t worry, we aren’t letting the day pass us by completely without a tiny bit of cheer. Besides, tomorrow also marks 2 years of living in Munich! Let’s face it, the Kiwi isn’t going to let me get away with not making pie

As a compromise between a messy and complicated, full-fledged, from scratch pie and the ‘I can’t be bothered,’ nonexistent pie, I whipped up this. Basically, I just stuck pumpkin pudding in a pie crust.

Will it fall apart when serving? Signs point to yes.

Will it be mind-blowingly delicious? Absolutely.

Whip it up tonight, stick it in the fridge, and forget about it. Dessert is done. Pull it out at lunch tomorrow and prepare for folk’s mouthful mumblings of “Oh my gah, it’s so good.” At least, that’s what I got from the Kiwi.

Pumpkin Pudding Pie in a Spekulatius Crust

{makes 1 pie}

Spekulatius Crust
20 spekulatius cookies, about 180 grams {ginger snaps, or ginger nuts for the Kiwis, will probably work perfectly, but if you can get spekulatius, do it.}
6 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

Give the cookies a whiz in the food processor until they are just crumbs. In a small mixing bowl melt the butter then add the crumbs. Mix the crumbs and butter until the butter is completely incorporated.

Press into a pie pan and bake for 10 minutes. Let it cool completely before filling it with the pudding.

Pumpkin Pudding
1 cup milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree {canned will do also, just make sure it’s pumpkin puree not pie filling}
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger

In a medium pot on medium heat, bring the milk and maple syrup to a simmer.

In a bowl, cream together your egg yolk, sugar, and cornstarch. While stirring your egg yolks, add a spoonful of the warm milk. This will keep your eggs from curdling when you add the egg yolk mixture to the pot of milk. Go ahead and do that—add the creamy egg yolk mix to the milk and maple syrup. Then add the vanilla and give it a stir. Let it cook for about 5 minutes so it will thicken up.

While it’s cooking grab a mixing bowl and whisk together your pumpkin, brown sugar, butter, and spices.

Once the milk/egg yolk/maple syrup mix has thickened enough to coat your spoon, slowly start adding the pumpkin mixture stirring as you go. Once it’s all combined pour it into your pie crust and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Then pop it in the fridge until you are ready to serve!

Serve with whipped cream, or, in my case, whipped coconut cream. Yum!

Carrot and Pecan Spiced Rum Muffins

I’m pretty sure hell just froze over.

Pigs are flying.

I, eternal hater of the dreadful, ever-so-sneaky carrot, willingly bought, and cooked with…carrots.

They say that when you’re hosting a party, you should stick to your tried and true recipes and, as a rule, I tend to adhere to that. Except, every now and then, I get the occasional hare-brained, you’re-out-of-your-mind ideas. And then I dwell, and dwell, and dwell on them until I actually have to make them or I’ll go crazy.

You too?

No, just me? Oh well.

That happened last week with the party and those carrot cakes. I had seen a recipe for a whisky carrot cake on TheKitchn ages ago and couldn’t stop thinking about it. So what if I’d never bought a carrot in my life? So what if I had zero, zilch, nada experience making carrot cake? It was going to happen for this party.

So it did, and thank God, it was a smash hit.

Success.

I want to like carrots. I really do. They are so good for you! I try them every so often just to see if maybe my gag reflex when the after-taste hits has chilled out, but it never seems to work. This carrot cake though…it worked. Unfortunately pretty much all of the good nutritional aspects of the carrot were being wiped out by the fact that it was indeed still cake.

Hence the muffin was created. Less sugar, whole wheat, more nuts, more carrot, and a whole lot of yumminess! I wouldn’t go so far as to say healthy, but definitely healthier. I know what we will be having on Thanksgiving morning.

Are you trying anything brand new for Thanksgiving?

Here’s to willingness to take a risk and being open to new things.

Carrot and Pecan Spiced Rum Muffins from Kiwi and Peach

Carrot and Pecan Spiced Rum Muffins

{make 12 muffins}

Adapted from Sara Kate’s recipe for TheKitchn. Besides reducing the recipe, I substituted whole wheat for the all purpose flour and reduced the sugar to make it more of a muffin and less of a cake. I also upped the carrot and pecan amounts. I’m dying to try an all natural sugar version of this. I think it would be great with demerara sugar.

The Egg
3 eggs

The Dry
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 heaping tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
dash of allspice

The Fold
1 large carrot, peeled then shredded {around 2 cups, maybe slightly less}
2/3 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup shredded coconut
3 Tbsp spiced rum

The Wet
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup olive oil

Crack your eggs into a small bowl, beat them, and set them to the side. {Wow, that sounds like a lot of egg violence.} Do this first so they have some time to get to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

Grab three mixing bowls.

In the first, add your grated carrot, chopped pecans, coconut and rum. Give it all a stir and set it to the side for later.

In the second, sift together your dry ingredients.

In the third, the biggest of the three, combine the brown sugar with the olive oil well. As Sara Kate says in the original recipe, it should look like wet sand. Alternatively, add the flour and the egg and mix until they are just incorporated each time. Then fold in the carrot mix.

Set the batter to the side for a minute so the batter can rest while you line the muffin pan with cupcake liners. Spoon the batter in to the pan filling each cup 3/4 of the way full.

Pop it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. Test the middles with a toothpick; if it comes out clean, you’re ready to go!

Enjoy.

The Leaving Party {the eats}

There is a lot of pressure being a food blogger when you’re hosting a party. Aside from the usual logistics of cramming lots of people into a tiny urban apartment, there’s this: people expect the food to be out-of-this-world good. And rightly so, I mean I write about this stuff all the time, I should be able to deliver, yes?

Well, I didn’t want to disappoint, but let’s be real. The party was just a few days after we got back from Hong Kong and in the midst of a friend arriving to stay with us for the week, a blogger meet-up, meetings with the consulate, and organizing a move.

If I was going to be able to deliver, we had to keep it simple.

Delicious, but simple..

With that in mind, we decided to go with a seasonal taco bar, full of our favorite fall stuffings and heavy on the roasted veggies. I mean, who doesn’t like tacos?!

{If you have no interest in throwing a similar shin-dig, I give you permission to skip this next paragraph. It might be a bit, eh, boring.}

Logistics wise, the prep really couldn’t have been simpler. The day before the party, I prepped the mole seasoning and made the steak marinade, salsa, a batch of quinoa, the oreo truffles, and the cake. If you’re organizing a shin-dig these thing could easily be done more than a day in advance. That is just how it worked out best for us. On the day, I roasted the sweet potatoes, crisped the quinoa, and iced the cakes. I was going to let early guest help out with the skewers, but I ended up having a bit of extra time so I went ahead and did it. The Kiwi whizzed together the guacamole and prepped the cheeses. Shortly before folks arrived I whipped up the cider {recipe below}, and as they were arriving, the Kiwi put the steaks on so they’d be nice and hot.

The whole thing ended up being a breeze to throw together which was exactly what we needed. We needed to have time with our friends. We needed to have more time to focus on the reason we were there–letting all these fabulous people know how special they are to us and just how wonderful they have made our time here in Munich

And, if I do say so myself, it was a huge, huge hit. Every last bite was  gobbled, and I say that’s a mark of success.

Thank goodness.

Fall Taco Party

{I’m the worst at remembering to take photos at parties, especially my own, so I didn’t get a single picture of the whole spread. Schade. Picture a white tablecloth with craft paper runner, cutlery in mason jars, moroccan bowls, white china, these precious little place cards for the mains, and labels for the toppings scribbled in sharpie on the craft paper. It was beautiful while it lasted. All of these photos were taken at another time.}

for the starter
date, prosciutto and baby mozzarella skewers {kiwi+peach}

for the mains
mole roasted sweet potatoes and crispy quinoa {naturally ella via a house in the hills}
carne asada, for the meat lovers {kiwi+peach}
…with freshly pressed tortillas  and tortilla chips from the mexican grocery down the street.

Fall Taco Party from Kiwi and Peach

for the toppings
roasted tomato salsa {naturally ella}
guacamole {kiwi+peach}
spinach
sour cream
goat cheese, crumbled
feta, cubed
aged cheddar, shredded

for the sweets
oreo truffles {recipe from my friend Caitlin, remind me to tell you this story later…}
mini whiskey carrot cakes with cream cheese icing {the kitchn}

Mini Whiskey Carrot Cakes from Kiwi and Peach

for the drink
Augustiner beer {a Munich must}
Hot Caramel Apple Cider with dark spiced rum for spiking {recipe below}

Hot Caramel Apple Cider from Kiwi and Peach {recipe}

Hot Caramel Apple Cider

The Cider
2 liters apple juice
2 Tbsp mulling spices

The Caramel
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp cream {we use soy cream}
pinch of sea salt

Place a large pot on medium low heat and pour in the apple juice. Tie the mulling spices up in a bit of cheesecloth and drop it in the pot. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until its properly warm.

In a separate pot on medium heat, melt your butter. Whisk the brown sugar in and then add the cream and sea salt. Continue whisking constantly for about 5 minutes or until the sugar has completely melted and the caramel just begins to thicken.

Remove the mulling spices and whisk the caramel into the cider.

Serve as is, or spike it with some nice spiced rum if you’re feeling festive.

Food News {monday}

Happy Monday folks! How was your weekend? We had a little get together at our place to say bye to our friends. The next week or so is going to be crazy with the movers coming and us preparing to hand back over the apartment, so we wanted to take advantage of our one calm weekend and spend it with some of the coolest and funniest folks we know in Munich. We sure are going to miss you guys!

And you know what we did on Sunday? We rested. It was magical.

Sweet, sweet rest–it had been far too long since we hung out.

I was finally able to catch up on my reading and found some articles, recipes, and goodies that I just couldn’t wait to share.

Camel Trekking in the Sahara from Kiwi and Peachcamel trekking in the Sahara
{photo credit: the kiwi}

{read}

“You cannot sustain good health on fake food.” Fascinating insight from an ex-chef about feeding your family good food on a strict budget. {eatocracy}

This has nothing to do with food, but wow–what a beautiful tribute to their love. {rolling stone}

For all the folks who have asked what grits are… here is a great fact sheet covering your basic corn. {food52}

The good, the bad, and the ugly of each state’s ‘signature’ dish. Hilarious read. {deadspin}

We aren’t dairy-free, but I do have to be careful. Here are some great tips if you have to pay attention to your dairy consumption. {the stone soup}

The history of popcorn and how we came to associate it with the movies. {smithsonian}

{make}

We have some brussels just asking to be made into this. {in the little red house}

My next soup experiment + some great info about my favorite veggie, the sweet potato. {in the little red house}

{love}

These guys can peel a whole head of garlic in less than 10. Color me impressed. {the kitchn}

Cheesecloth angst? Such a handy list of reusable alternatives. {the kitchn}

I mentioned this a couple weeks ago, but Seven Handle Circus has 3 days left to fund their new album. Head over and see what you think. {kickstarter}

Jenny’s calligraphy shop makes me a little weak at the knees. {jenny highsmith calligraphy}

’tis the season {for classy kabobs}

You know, one reason blogging is great is because we get to share the joy of our big news with so many. Thank y’all for your sweet words. It goes without saying that we will miss our friends here dearly, but it really will be so nice to be back! Without further ado though, the promised recipe.

A few weeks back I saw an advert for Franziskaner beer in the train station. On the ad they had the beer, of course, but they also had the monk munching on a very classy little skewer–baby mozzarella, prosciutto, and figs.  So simple, yet incredibly tasty looking. As proof that inspiration can be found anywhere, I noted the tasty treat and hoped I would actually remember it next time we were entertaining.

The holidays are here and with them, at least for us, comes lots of get togethers. I’m all about a low work to wow-factor ratio, so the fact that these babies take all of five minutes to throw together and look pretty darn classy, make them a big winner in my book. Friends, the cat is out of the bag. Now you know what to expect from us at parties this year, and now you also know how little effort it took.

Prosciutto, Baby Mozzarella, and Fresh Fig Skewers from Kiwi and Peach

Prosciutto, Baby Mozzarella, and Fresh Fig Skewers

{for 12 skewers}

12 balls of baby buffalo mozzarella
6 pieces of prosciutto, cut in half
3 ripe figs

Wash your figs and cut them into quarters. Load up a piece of mozzarella, prosciutto, and a fig quarter on each skewer. Serve with sea salt and possibly a drizzle of honey.

If fresh figs are scarce in your area, dates would work beautifully with this as well.

Prosciutto, Baby Mozzarella, and Fresh Fig Skewers from Kiwi and Peach

Sweet {Home} Asheville

I had a recipe to share with y’all today. I promise, I did.

But today is a really big day for us, and I just don’t think that a recipe for a perfect party appetizer, as delicious as it may be, really documents the importance of the day. I’ll share the recipe tomorrow.

Today, we have some big news.

Real big. Huge.

Kiwi and Peach: Sweet {HOME} Asheville

The Kiwi and I are moving to Asheville, North Carolina!

Today, the Kiwi had his interview at the consulate, and his work visa has been approved. It’s official–we’re coming America!

I am feeling all the feelings. As Oktoberfest wound down, I found myself a bit weepy that this was the last time we would experience it as locals. On that trip to the Alps that I so cryptically wrote about a couple weeks ago, my heart actually hurt that it would be my last time there for a long while. As we’re going through the insurance inventory for our moving company and putting a value on all of the things we’ve picked up from our travels, I find that priceless isn’t an option but that is what this stuff is. {Reality check: they are things, I know this, but they are also memories, very precious memories.}

But enough about my being an emotional mess. That is to be expected. Germany has been our home for the past two years. This is where we met, where we grew, where we fell in love, where we dealt with challenges neither of us thought we’d ever have to face. It’s where we became a team, a family. Munich has been the backdrop for all of this and will always have an incredibly special place in our hearts. But we always knew that Munich was not going to be forever.

For one, I cannot work in my field in Germany. I’ve spent the last two years gaining hands-on experience that, without a doubt, make me a better Family and Consumer Science teacher, but I can’t actually teach Family and Consumer Science here and I want to teach FACS again. I can’t wait to get back in the classroom, teaching those little whipper-snappers all there is to know about food, nutrition, and how to be productive, independent individuals who can think and analyze and in turn, impact their world. That is what makes me feel fulfilled, and that, my friends, is something I can’t do in Germany.

Why Asheville?

On the night we met, the Kiwi, who had also recently moved to Germany from the south, and I talked extensively about our favorite Southern towns. Conveniently, they happened to be the exact same ones–Charleston, Savannah, and, yes, Asheville. When we started the conversation about going back to the States, we knew it was going to be one of those towns.

I truly believe that where you choose to live has a huge impact on your happiness. Short story is we are moving to Asheville because it’s  a town with great things going on: food-wise, art-wise, music-wise. It doesn’t hurt that it’s in the middle of the mountains {you know, my place} so hiking is just minutes away. Food, art, music, the outdoors–those are the things that make us happy, so we are choosing to be intentional and surround ourselves with that environment. Most importantly though, it’s a town we both feel completely at home in, settled. We are pretty sure these are our folks. We’ll fit right in.