Pumpkin Spice Overkill

November 24, 2014

Too much of a good thing when gaining popularity and then randomly applied everywhere…well, that’s just too much already. “Pumpkin spice” is the perfect current example. Starting in September it flavors everything from a latte’ to caramels to anything that doesn’t move and back again. Nothing  has missed being hit. By the time Thanksgiving arrives, just a hint of the aroma could trigger a bit of nausea. Let’s keep the warm Autumn spice thing going and yet reel it in simplequietmodern  style, editing the spices down to one….say Ginger. Fresh, dried or candied…Ginger can add its distinctive spicy warmth and sweetness to cocktails, desserts or savory dishes alike without being cliché.

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Top to bottom:

Whole hands of fresh ginger root might add additional interest to your bountiful tablescape this Thanksgiving. I think I’ll pick up some extra myself to compliment my arrangements of Bosc pears, mixed shelled nuts and oak leaves.

During the weekend a bit of ginger will elevate the pears poached for another dessert from everyday to holiday.

Ginger syrup made from fresh or crystallized ginger can be added to a glass of Prosecco, Cava or Champagne for a gingery pre-dinner cocktail or added to a glass of soda for a delicious home-made ginger ale.

Home made fresh cranberry sauce could not be easier. Adding a little grated fresh or minced crystallized ginger  to the mix brings a fresh unexpected note.

Crystallized ginger presented alongside dessert allows even those who are too stuffed to indulge a little something  sweet that also acts as a perfect digestivo. A couple of pieces with coffee is just enough sweet for me after a Thanksgiving feast. You might even try dipping candied ginger into dark chocolate if you’re in the mood to gild the lily.

 

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How can you not be inspired when you spot a pear like this at the market?  And, with that you have the start of a 5 ingredient / 5 minute salad, barely needs a recipe.  Crunchy, protein packed, phytonutrient rich, slightly sweet and a little bit salty. The simplequietmodern way to pack a lunch. OK…who’s hungry?

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G's Quinoa, Kale and Pear Salad

I’ve tried to re-create here a similar salad that I love from Simply Good Kitchen. This is so good and so simple that I might just be dragging this into the Fall by adjusting it a bit. Adding a touch of walnut oil to the vinaigrette and swapping out the pistachios for toasted walnuts could be the ticket. A bit of blue cheese couldn’t hurt either.

 

 

 

 

You might see your glass…

November 26, 2013

half empty. I run into people daily who whine and complain about all of the gifts in their lives that, seriously, they have no reason to have but for the grace of God. Their glass is never quite full enough. Well, on this Thanksgiving it might do them well, particularly when there are so many with so little, to be thankful that they have a glass…and, that there is something in it. If you woke up this morning and took a breath…give thanks. If you have been blessed with wealth or excellent health, give thanks. If you have simply experienced beauty or kindness in the most unexpected place, give thanks.

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Double Duty

November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving dinner. The plates are barely cleared and the Christmas decorations are already being hung. That said, my suggestion for an effectively decorated Thanksgiving table are well thought out to provide not only the right look but shift into double duty in the following few days. Here I’ve started with a study in brown and white. Shapley Bosc pears with their rusty sueded skins… an assortment of walnuts, hazelnuts and brazil nuts providing their varied shades and texture and oak leaves and pinecones scavenged in the yard round out a simplequietmodern fall story. Perfect whether you’re dining in the afternoon or later into the evening with the addition of some candlelight… a couple of  handfuls for a table of four or a couple of arm loads to deck out a larger table for 12 or more…this look is very accommodating. Then as the weekend progresses, the nuts are for snacking when set around in bowls with a conveniently placed nutcracker and the pears can be poached or roasted and served up with gingerbread for an additional sweet treat…while you’re… umm…setting up the tree?