Giving Thanks

peelings

With great joy I write to you from my new desk in my new home. This will be the first holiday meal in my new home which for me is the best housewarming gift I could imagine.  To fill my home by pulling out pots and pans and create beautiful food for those I love- this is a gift. All around my table will be those that I love most in the world. My table, my loves, my home. So wonderful.

This past year has been one of great challenges. To be honest, I am getting weary of them. My father passed away this week seven years ago. Ever since that time my life has been on an often difficult twisting ride. Don’t get me wrong, it has not been all bad, if fact, some remarkably wonderful and “best” times have occurred. I am grateful for those times.

I believe in 7 year cycles. I believe that there are seasons of things. Though there have been many times I preferred easier moments, I have been taught many lessons, and I am stronger and more peaceful for having been through the experiences. Life is never easy, nor do I expect it to me, but I believe my spinning now will be in a positive and productive direction. It’s a heart expanding and wonderful feeling.

napkins

Of course this year we have had immediate reasons to take time to reflect and hold dear ones closer. As a person who witness NYC’s attack first hand, my heart goes out to my sisters and brothers in Paris, and everyone around the world, for I believe we’ve all been touched by this.

I’ve been asked more than once recently if I am concerned to be living in the city again, a place where threats seem to be more likely. Each day I/we step out into uncertainty. We are a compact people with many personalities and bump and jostle together as we each make our way. But am I concerned? Not a whit. 

I live my life in happiness and joy. I am tickled every single day when I roam the city streets. All sorts of people, such beautiful people, all living side by side. Life is so rich here, why would I darken it with sour thoughts? No, I do not fear assault. I prefer to move with grace and amongst grace.

recipelist

What I am more concerned with is time. As my mother ages, and my children mature, and my own body begins to creak, I find time more precious. During my recent packing and unpacking, one of the joys is going through the memories. Honestly, moving is exhausting work, but touching all my loved things, and flipping through photos, or remembering the stories behind objects I have collected- it is delicious. I am reminded how we impact the world. How we fit in. How we connect to each other.

Which is what this blog is all about.

Gathering around tables has always been the best place to create bonds and strengthen the ring. Yeah yeah, we sometimes bicker and fight with each other- but for the most part-time heals those wounds, and the being togetherness is richer than the cost.

oranges

I send you all the warmest and most heartfelt Thanksgiving affection in my heart. The folding napkins, the clinking of silverware on china, the rustle of platters and pots in the sink is a symphony to me. As those sounds emanate from wherever you are, know that those vibrations will find their way to my heart and resonate with me- and for that I am thankful.

Cranberry Port Conserve
Print
93 calories
21 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
76 g
2 g
17 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
76g
Servings
10
Amount Per Serving
Calories 93
Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 2mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 21g
7%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 17g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
11%
Calcium
1%
Iron
1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 12oz package of cranberries
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 3/4 cup port wine
  4. 1 tangerine, deseeded and diced
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan and place over a medium/low flame. Bring the mixture to a low boil and cook until the berries have burst and there is a thick sauce.
  2. As the sauce cools it will thicken. I like to keep my berries just slightly whole for more texture. I also think it adds a touch of acidity too.
Notes
  1. The conserve may be made several days in advance.
beta
calories
93
fat
0g
protein
0g
carbs
21g
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A Stack of Dishes http://www.astackofdishes.com/

How Lovely! Hello Natural and my Flavored Vinegars!

Flavored Vinegars ~ A Stack of Dishes

Hello Natural recently did a post on Delicious and Easy Homemade Gifts- and LOOK who they featured! You may see their post HERE.

And you can find my vinegar recipe HERE.

Making Dukkah

Making Dukkah~ A Stack of Dishes

Have you heard of Dukkah? It’s relatively new to me, which is surprising since I feel like I sometimes have heard of it all. Dukkah is a spice and nut blend that can be sprinkled on top of just about anything. Also sometimes spelled Duqqa, this melange is of middle Eastern origin, namely Egypt, where you may purchase it on the streets of Cairo in paper cones.

The concept is a mix of nuts such as hazelnuts and blended with toasted seeds such as coriander, anise and herbs such as mint. There is no real master recipe, the versions are as varied as the maker- sort of like ice cream. One idea, many flavor combinations.  My combination consisted of hazelnuts, pine nuts, poppy seeds, anise, coriander and purple basil from my garden.

dukkah ~ A Stack of Dishes

I toasted the nuts and spices separately, then ground them separately. I left the hazelnuts with a little bit of texture, which is my preference, but most often Dukkah is of a unified consistency.

How to Enjoy Dukkah

Traditionally in Egypt dukkah is served alongside olive oil and bread. Either the dukkah and oil or mixed together, or the bread may be dipped in oil, then into the dukkah before eating. It’s a nosh. A simple, flavorful, great treat along with your tea or lunch. But I find dukkah to be much more versatile that that. I like mine sprinkled over yogurt, or to lace an otherwise plain green salad. Add it to your chicken salad, or enhance your grilled cheese with a smattering. Spinkle it over your morning eggs, or coat fish before roasting. Recently I used it in this Coconut Sweet Potato Soup recipe. I also tossed some into my latest scone recipe too. It was completely divine!

Worth the Effort?

To be honest, it took me a little time to make this batch. One must be careful when toasting nuts and spices. As you can see from my photo I got a little side tracked when toasting the pine nuts and they turned out a little dark. But there are several great reasons to make your own batch. 

The first reason is it’s a great way to use some of those spices sitting in your cupboard. They don’t last forever, so you might as well create something with them. The second thing is a few tablespoons of this and that makes quite a big batch, which leads me to the third thing. Bottled up, this makes an awesome hostess gift and a great stocking stuffer. Stash a few jars in your freezer for quick hand outs. Trust me, you’ll make lasting friends with this one.

Dukkah~ A Stack of Dishes

Like I said the recipe may vary. Here is the breakdown of my combination, along with some other suggestions:

3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

small handful hazel nuts, toasted

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

2 tablespoons anise seeds

small handful of dried purple basil

 

Using a spice blender, or by hand, or in a mortar and pestle, reduce the ingredients to a grainy powder and toss to thoroughly combine. Taste for balance. Anise, for instance, has a strong flavor and may out shine some of the subtler flavors. Store in an airtight container, preferably in the fridge. Mine presently lives on the counter as I find uses for it almost every day. (you know those avocado toasts everyone is going nuts over lately? Yup, a sprinkle of this goodness will make it shine!

Some other options:

sesame seeds

cumin seeds

mint

tarragon

caraway

nigella

almonds

black pepper