Friendsgiving

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Ok OK, so this is way late, but with the Holidays and traveling to Mexico for a family wedding, it has been tricky to get this post up.

For the last three years, my now husband and I have been planning and hosting what we like to call “Friendsgiving”. In years past, we have done a pot-luck style event and have just been in charge of the turkey, a few sides, and of course dessert. This year though, we decided to go all out and make everything and just have our friends bring wine or beer.

One of the things I have come to love the most about the hubby is his philosophy of: if you are going to do something right, you should go all out. And all out did we go! We got rentals for the tables and chairs, and all of the wine glasses and dinner plates. We spent all week prepping and chopping and planning and stressing! It was a wonderful way for us to bond doing the things we love the most, all while listening to wonderful music and sipping on delicious wine!

The dinner menu was wonderful:

Soup:

Butternut Squash Soup with Fried sage croutons

Main Course:

Roasted Brine-Cured Turkey with With Wild Mushroom Stuffing

Madeira-Sage turkey gravy

Sides:

Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash with Bacon Vinaigrette

Everything parker house rolls

Baby Arugula salad with Roasted beets, toasted pumpkin seed, cilantro and goat cheese

Cranberry Sauce with Champagne and Currants

Mashed potatoes with celery root

Dessert:

Pumpkin Brioche Bread Pudding with cinnamon caramel sauce and whipped crème fraiche

 

All in all a very successful event full of many laughs, wonderful food, and incredible wine chosen by our resident wine expert, David Othenin Girard at K&L.

Looking forward to next year!!

 

 

 

 

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Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bread

Is it just me or does it seem like fall just does not want to come to California this year. I know that (and I send my deepest condolences to all those affected by Sandy) many parts of the States are experiencing their own climate changes (yes I said it!), so I really can’t complain that us Angelinos are “suffering” from day after day of 80 degree bright and sunny days. I just want to be able to put on a sweater, curl up by the TV and eat some delicious fall baked goods. There is something so absolutely wonderful about the taste of pumpkin, the crunch of pecan pie, and the  smell of cinnamon emerging from the oven.

One of my favorite things to bake (regardless of the season) is my pumpkin-chocolate chip bread. This weekend I refused to let the heat win and decided to whip up a batch of this glorious bread. It is moist, full of spice and the pumpkin pairs divinely with the chocolate chips. I wanted to use my new chocolate chips (Cacao Berry Mexique) that I had bought at surfas, but they were absolutely disgusting. They were waxy and tasted like dirt, and ended up using Ghiradelli Chips.

This bread also keeps really well and is wonderful toasted with a spoonful of Valencia peanut butter with sea salt. So lets keep hoping that it will finally cool down and I can start making some mulled wine!!

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup (9 ounces) canned pumpkin puree

1/2 c neutral-flavored vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat loaf pan with melted butter or cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger and salt until thoroughly blended. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and water. Add the sugar and blend well. Add the pumpkin puree, oil, and vanilla extract and blend well.

2. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until blended and smooth. Add the chocolate chips, stirring until evenly distributed. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

3. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until the bread is firm to the touch and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely (difficult as this might seem) before removing from pan and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices. Wrap left overs in plastic and store in refrigerator for 4 days.