Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chic Thanksgiving Winter Squash Dip Appetizer

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I always buy winter squash.  I love the way they look they just say Fall without saying anything at all.  One of my favorite Christmas recipes is Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash, I might have to share that one with you lovelies later.  For now, look at this awesome Thanksgiving dip recipe.  What beautiful presentation.  I love the natural look of this and what an impressive dish to bring to Thanksgiving and share.  Total Napa style!  Love it!

This one comes from our good friend Martha Stewart. I guess we have finally forgiven her for our hilarious Martha wedding day faux pas.

Makes about 6 cups


* 1 winter squash (about 2 pounds), such as butternut or turban, unpeeled, seeded, and cut into 3-inch pieces

* Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

* Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

* 2 heads garlic, tops cut off to expose cloves

* 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature

* 8 scallions, white and pale-green parts only, sliced 1 inch thick

* 2 chipotle chiles (canned in adobo sauce)

* 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream

* 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

* 1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)

* 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

* Paprika, for sprinkling

* Roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), for garnish

* Breadsticks, for dipping
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss. Spread squash in a single layer. Place garlic on a piece of parchment-lined foil. Drizzle with oil, and wrap loosely. Place on baking sheet with squash. Bake until squash is soft and golden brown, about 50 minutes. Let cool slightly.

2. Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add scallions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes.

3. Scoop flesh from squash, and transfer to a food processor. Squeeze garlic from skins, and add to squash. Add scallions and chipotles, and pulse until smooth. Add remaining 6 tablespoons butter, the sour cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, and lemon juice, and pulse until just combined but not smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Pour into a hollowed-out squash or a serving bowl. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Sprinkle with paprika, and garnish with pepitas. Serve with breadsticks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Posh Play Cellar. Beer is the New Wine

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Beer might not be the new wine in anyone else's world only in mine.  It totally is.  Ever since I was pregnant I couldn't stop CRAVING beer constantly.  I would tell everyone.  Bring me a beer and a blue cheese turkey sandwich from my favorite deli to the hospital.  My husband was SO appalled.  Do you REALLY want everyone including the nurses seeing you DRINKING in the hospital.  This is when he would get the really scary pregnant wife glare and the topic would drop immediately.  Needless to say I did not have a beer in the hospital or that turkey sandwich with blue cheese.  I did have a beer shortly after at the urging of my Mom of all people who said it encourages milk production.  My extrememly intellectual and research OBSESSED hubs was not having it.  That is until he actually found lots of studies that supported my Mom's stand.  Turns out moms have been given beer for centuries to encourage milk production.  Who knew?  Fabulous!

I only treat myself once in a while only now I am totally obsessed with poshing out the beer drinker in me.  It is so NOT posh to carry around a bottle of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale when everyone else is delicately clasping fine crystal Riedels.  At least I don't think so.

So my research has turned up some pretty fun gifty gift beer stuff for the hubs and if you just happen to imbibe too then that is just extra buttercream frosting on the cake.
Princess Electrics
Beer Tap Cooler
$65 on sale.  Regular price $119.99.
So you can't go wrong with the name of this brand.  Princess Electrics.  Love!  This is the least ugly of the beer taps I have seen and you can still hide display it prominently on behind your home bar.  I also can't pass up a bargain and this is such a great holiday deal!  So perfect for the hubs and his Monday Night Football buddies and you can sneak a glass too.  Here is your link for more information.

Jaye's
Coptic Multi-Purpose Tub, Green
$29 on sale.  Regular price $85.
Serve up a tub of Coronas in this bad boy and you just kicked it up a notch.  Who says beer accessories have to look cheap and trashy?  Gone are the cheap plastic tubs and hello to this little cutie.  I will definitely be purchasing one for our new abode. Here is your link for more information.
Vellum
Set of 4 Suit Glasses
$59 on sale.  Regular price $135.
How cute are these fun beer glasses.  Now you can do the party stroll without looking like a college sorority girl.  Another good gift idea for guy's poker night.  Even though they totally won't appreciate the cuteness of this set.  At least you can.  Here is your link for more information.

Pottery Barn
Found Beer Crates
$99-$129
A new way to serve or display beer at your holiday get fete.  I am so in love with this rustic chic look I can baely stand it.  Beer service just got a little posher.  Each crate is unique which makes this find all the more gift worthy.

Congratulations Prince William and Kate Middleton

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I have been loving Kate Middleton since I first got a glimpse of her way back when.  I love her effortless style, her cute twists on tradition and her overall poise under tremendous amounts of pressure.  Even though this means I won't get to be PRINCESS now.  I am totally head over heels for this adorable pair.  I can't wait to watch all the wedding planning and festivities as they unfold.  I was four when Princess Diana walked down the aisle and it seems like yesterday.  I am so excited to see Prince William step out on his own and show the world what he is made of!  His mom must be so proud.

(Picture courtesy of Marie Claire UK).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chestnuts Roasting In Your Oven

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Yesterday we bundled up and headed up to Apple Hill for some good old fashioned apple picking.  My husband grew up here and went with his family so a little piece of his childhood is wrapped up in the whole experience so I indulge him and suggest going as much as possible this time of year.  I love seeing him get so excited and revisit all his childhood memories each time we go.  It was pouring rain yesterday so I also selfishly wanted to break in my new Hunter boots ( which I did and it was a fashion success)!

Since it was so cold and wet outside we stayed in the warmish store area and I perused the aisles as the hubs mulled over ten different varieties of apples and which to buy.  I came accross a basket of chestnuts and instantly I was transported back to the blistering cold Christmas I spent in Hamburg, Germany.  One of my favorite things about Germany was the Weihnachtsmarkt or Christmas Market in the center of the city.  Walking around in the freezing evening air the only way to warm up was holding warm chestnuts in gloved hands and downing as many cups of gluhwein (spiced mulled wine) as possible.  You know I mastered the art of drinking gluhwein and brought that skill home with me.  Only I never did figure out how to recreate the roasted chestnuts I experienced.
Here in California we don't have Christmas Markets or roasted chestnuts so I looked around for how to do it at home and found a pretty easy oven method I wanted to share.  If you stick around for a while I just might share with you my homemade gluhwein recipe only for now try this chestnut recpe from Kyle's Italian Food Blog.

Preheat your oven to 425 F (210 C). Take your chestnuts and make a cut across the round side of each to keep them from exploding, and arrange them either on a rack or on a cookie sheet. Roast them until the skins have pulled back from the cuts and the nutmeats have softened (exactly how long will depend upon the chestnuts, but at least 15-20 minutes). Remove the nuts from the oven, make a mound of them in an old towel, wrap them up, squeeze them hard -- they should crackle -- and let them sit for a few minutes.


Peel the skins off and enjoy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Little Thanksgiving Tablescape Inspiration

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Since we just moved into our new house it seems like we missed all of summer and most of the fun of decorating for fall.  Not to mention we are on the road for Thanksgiving this year and heading off to Utah for a family get together so we won't be hosting anyone at our new place.  Good and bad.  Kinda gonna miss getting our house all dolled up only at least we have more holidays right around the corner.  That and we don't have to pull everything together in time for guests.

For now I am going to do a simple fall tablescape in our breakfast nook area just to get us going in our new home.  I am totally obsessed with white pumpkins this year.  Oh and fairy tale pumpkins!  Have you seen them?  They are in our local Trader Joe's stores and they are just so cute that next year my house will be bursting with them.  I love the chic and simple look of white pumpkins and rustic accents.  This table is a blend of simple elegance.  Can I also throw in there how much I love the spray painted squash!  Any excuse to accessorize vegetables.  I'm there!
 

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