Blog Archive

Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks

I give thanks for the pumpkins (technically butternut squash), for the chocolate, for the beans. I give thanks for all the delicious food on my table and for the food that is burnt, overcooked, undersalted and the lessons learned along the way. I give thanks for having a roof over my head, a soft bed, a spacious kitchen. I give thanks to my housemates who bear with me and wash some of my dishes. I give thanks for having wonderful friends whom I love very much. I give thanks to whoever needs to be thanked that my family is well. I give thanks to the American people for finally coming to their senses and voting for change. And I give thanks to the Universe for us all being here.

Bean and Squash Mole from Denis Cotter's Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me via 101 Cookbooks

3 C butternut squash, cut in cubes
3 C cooked beans
28 oz can diced tomatoes
5-6 big kale leaves, cut in strips
3-4 Tbs butter
some olive oil
4+ jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 1/2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2-4 Tbs paprika
2 oz almonds, roasted and finely ground
3.2 oz chocolate bar, 70% cocoa

Heat oven to 350 F. Toss the squash with some olive oil and spread in a 9x13 baking pan. Bake ~20-30 minutes, unill it starts caramelizing but is still firm. In the mean time melt butter in a large pan and saute onions and jalapenos for ~15 minutes until onions star caramelizing. Add paprika and garlic and stir until fragrant. Add tomatoes. Bring to boil and let it simmer down for ~10 minutes, depending on how liquidy the tomatoes are - you do not want a dry dish! Add beans, chocolate and almonds and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Turn heat off, set aside and steam the kale. To assemble, pour the bean mixture in a 9x13 pan or a large casserole dish, spread the squash pieces and kale evenly over the top and stir everything lightly. This way the colors are preserved and the dish is so much more beautiful instead of turning it into a brown mush. Cover with foil and put in the oven at ~200 F until heated throughout. Serves 8 as a generous side-dish.

Notes: I used brown Tepary beans from Native Seeds and they worked wonderfully - the flavor of the beans matched well with the chocolate. The jalapenos didn't make the dish spicy, not at all, contrary to my expectations. I think I may toss a little bit of cayene pepper next time. Because there will definitely be a next time. This dish was so very delicious, people were getting second servings which means a lot when there are ~30 dishes on the table!

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake via

For crust:
3/4 C graham cracker crumbs (5 crackers)
1/2 C pecans, finely chopped
1/4 C packed light brown sugar
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 C unsalted butter

For filling:
1 1/2 C pumpkin pure
3 large eggs
1/2 C packed light brown sugar
2 Tbs heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs bourbon
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature

Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and butter pan. Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.

Heat oven to 500 F. Seriously. Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur in a bowl until combined. Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth. Pour filling into crust, smoothing top. Place in oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 500 F. Turn the oven down to 200 F and bake for another 40 minutes. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving. Serve with roasted pecans and Bourbon-caramel Sauce. Serves 12-16. Despite the startling baking instructions and my fear that I have burnt the crust beyond recognitions this cheesecake came out amazing to say the least. The sheer fact that it is already gone while we still have leftovers from everything else we cooked for Thankgiving is a testimony to how "can-i-have-one-more-piece" it was.

A spoonful of each. Sage mashed potatoes.

Cornbread muffins. The adult's table.

Waldorf salad. Yes, that kind of Thanksgiving.


Laurel from Simple Spoonful said...

Wow. That pumpkin cheesecake is insanely gorgeous.

I recently found your site through a comment on 101 Cookbooks, and I was delighted to find someone else in Arizona. Beautiful pictures, wonderful writing. Thanks for sharing!

Ivastar said...

Thanks Laurel! It is indeed great to find other Arizona bloggers! I look forward to browsing your wonderful blog.