Thursday, January 08, 2009

Beet and Citrus Salad and Bourbon Chocolate Bundt Cake

Bourbon Chocolate Bundt Cake

One of the keys to fabulous dinner party? A knockout dessert--it sends your guests home happy, erasing the memory of any misses on the rest of the menu. This Bourbon Chocolate Bundt Cake--found at Orangette--is just such a dessert, rich and dense and fragrant. Even better, it's not fussy--no frosting, no last-minute messiness, just a one-pan delight. Maker's Mark was my poison of choice--as Orangette recommends, you should use quality booze because you're definitely going to taste it, but I'd save your priciest bourbons for sipping since you need a whole cup of the stuff.

Citrus Salad and Swiss Chard Tart

To be honest, the only memory of last night's dinner party that I hope the cake erased was that of the middling carrot dip, a recipe from the New York Times. The rest of the meal was just divine (if I do say so myself). A homemade rosemary focaccia, a swiss chard tart, and a seasonal salad of clementines, blood oranges, beets, blue cheese and arugula. I roasted the beets the night before, left them in their skins in the fridge, and peeled them right before I made the salad. I dressed it with a lemony champagne vinaigrette, a little salt, a little pepper.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some leftover cake to eat.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Squash, Chickpea and Couscous Salad

Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Couscous Salad
Before adding the dressing and mixing it all together.

After an epic two week holiday vacation visiting family and friends in Wisconsin and Iowa, it's time for me to step away from the cookie plate and back to the vegetable aisle. J is off to glorious California for work, so I've packed this week's menu with the vegetable he loves to hate--winter squash.

Tonight's dish was a version of this salad from one of my favorite foodblogs, The Kitchn. I ditched the goat cheese and the walnuts, added fresh spinach and used spinach couscous. I also roasted my squash with some curry powder, salt and pepper--not included in the original recipe. And finally--I changed the name; in my opinion, the squash is the star, and in my version, the chickpeas outnumbered the cranberries. Truth be told, I may not need another squash recipe all week--I have more than enough of this delicious concoction to feed me until J returns from sunnier climes.