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

Parade.com: 3 Ways to Spice Up Your Acorn Squash

Spicy Roast Acorn Squash

Even as a so-called health nut, I love winter squashes roasted until they’re buttery and sticky-sweet. They’re drizzled with olive or coconut oil, or a little soft butter is brushed on slices. Perhaps they’re sweetened with brown or coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey. A bit of sea salt and fresh black pepper are sprinkled here and there. In my creative mind, winter squashes are flavored with any combination of herbs and spices. Read more

Parade Magazine: Dirty Chai Pumpkin Muffins with Chocolate Ganache

Dirty Chai Pumpkin Muffins with Chocolate Ganache
I wanted a special pumpkin muffin—like a unique Halloween costume—to stand out among the store-bought versions. Inspired by the flavors of warm spice tea and bitter coffee you find in a “dirty chai” drink, this is a muffin to nibble on while sipping coffee (or black tea) in a thermos as kids trick and treat in the neighborhood. As an added treat, the muffins are sweetly topped with a generous drizzle of bittersweet chocolate ganache. Here’s a warning: Be careful of kids performing magic tricks, causing these muffins to disappear into the ghostly night. Read more