Parade.com: Saffron Butternut Squash Soup

Saffron Butternut Soup

Finland. Summer 2003. Lunch outside of a mild summer day. The server presented steamed salmon in a saffron creamy broth. It was simple dish, but the memory of its taste is grand. Recently, when I made Saffron Butternut Squash soup as an idea to include in a Thanksgiving menu, the first spoonful didn’t have me thinking of smoked turkey. Instead, forgotten memories of Finland returned.

It was the summer of learning about organic food, becoming environmentally-conscious and riding Copenhagen’s public bikes. The flavorful produce was fresh, bruised and unwaxed. Large chickens looked liked American cornish hens. Fingerling potatoes enclosed in a thin papery skin roasted into a buttery softness. I would return to occasionally trying to recreate the Saffron Creamy broth. It’s a simple sauce, in which I’m surprised to not have successfully created it. Perhaps, the simpleness of the sauce is underestimated. Ten years later into today, I would unwittingly recreate the taste with different ingredients, but the memories come courtesy of saffron. It’s distinct flavor beautifully infuses every dish.  Read more

Butternut Squash Pie with Nairn’s Oatcake Cracker Crust

Butternut Squash Pie with Nairn's Oatcake Cracker Crust
There are plenty of reasons to be thankful. For starters, I live in a non-flood zone in Brooklyn, and our lights only flickered three times during Hurricane Sandy. I woke up the next day with fresh running water and electricity. Other blocks, people lost their cars to fallen trees. In neighborhoods at least 20 minutes away, floods and 100 mph winds destroyed houses and businesses. Although, the hurricane was two weeks ago, the stories continue to increase about the elderly living in high-rise apartment buildings on floors 13, 15 or 18 without running water, heat or electricity. I overhead a conversation about a family’s agony of a finding new home—when everyone in the same, next or other community are looking for a new home to live, too. And, those same families who lost their homes are looking for new schools for their kids. Let’s not forget the holidays are upon us. So, here I am in one of the world’s richest cities, and families are still walking around with just the shirt on their back. Brooklyn is indeed a city of the have and the have nots…. Read more

Last Minute Thanksgiving Recipes and Sweet Potato Bread

Sweet Pototo Bread Garnished with Walnuts

Sweet Pototo Bread Garnished with Walnuts

One day, a full Thanksgiving meal will be my personal responsibility. Until then, my friends rely on the sidekick dishes I contribute to their menu. And, if I’m feeling truly lazy, a good bottle of red wine is a peace offering to a disappointed host for not making a dish. Here’s another secret: This Sweet Potato Bread recipe makes two loaves. One loaf is immediately enjoyed, while the other is tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and zip loc for the freezer waiting to defrost after accepting a last minute holiday invitation. Read more

Granny’s Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie: The Steps

There are many Sweet Potato Pie recipes using corn syrup. I don’t remember my grandmother and father using that super sweetener. However, I remember plenty of brown sugar. I made this for our Christmas dessert this year, and I understood I had big shoes to fill. Apparently, the boyfriend’s mother makes the best Sweet Potato Pie. I called on my dream team, the Dad and the Granny, to help me with this recipe. Even when I forgot a couple ingredients after I placed the pies in the oven, I called my Granny for reinforcements. Thank goodness she saved the day, and it was great talking with her as the pies were baking in the oven. Of course, I would never ask the boyfriend who does  it better. I tell myself, I must stay humble. Oh, humble pie, I sweet you. Read more