Green Beans with Chili and Roasted Red Peppers

I’m trying to plan a Thanksgiving for two.

We had an Australian version of the holiday last week, but I wanted to plan something closer to the actual day.

With the exception of pasta, I’m pretty skilled at figuring how much food will feed me and my very strong and handsome fiancé, and leave me a little extra for lunch the next day. (I just can’t figure out dammed dried pasta portioning!)

But a Thanksgiving feast for two is a whole different gig. I want a range of foods and familiar dishes just like the real thing, but I don’t want to have an out of control leftover situation.

So far, here’s my plan of attack:

Continue reading

About these ads

Roast Chicken and Two Thanksgivings

It’s turning out to be a week of firsts for me. Making my first pavlova, my first costumed Italian-themed Thanksgiving (maybe anyone’s first), and cooking my first roast chicken. We also hosted our first Friendsgiving – 6 days later than normal Thanksgiving, served on our coffee table, with some new friends – nice and casual but with all the tasty trimmings. Hopefully we’ve started a new tradition.

But let me back up to the Italian-themed dress-up Thanksgiving. (You’re intrigued, no?)

Mr. F’s family has been having their own Thanksgiving here  in Australia for the past 5 years and this year they decided to kick things up a notch. Gone was the turkey, mashed potatoes and roasted veg – instead, we were treated to gorgeous antipasto platters, pizzas, fried eggplant, fish and rice balls. All topped off with tiramisu, amaretto mousse and pumpkin pie (I wiggled that one in there). To accompany this impressive spread there was Italian wine, beer, music, and mandatory costumes! We had dining partners ranging from Super Mario Brothers to Silvio Berlusconi and one of his mistresses (someone had to go there). It was a great night, with a lot to be thankful for.

But of course for l’americano – it was not quite Thanksgiving. I needed my mash, stuffing, sweet potato and more pumpkin pie. So we invited some friends around and I got to work.
Continue reading

it’s the great pumpkin ice cream

It’s the first day of fall in New York today.The air is becoming  pleasantly crisp and soon the leaves on the trees will be in gorgeous golden hues and fiery reds. And then, before you know it, it will be winter.  Fall always seems to pass by too quickly and maybe that’s why it’s my favorite season – it always keeps me wanting more.

I love fall produce too.  Bright red, snappy macintosh apples and lush, golden orange pumpkins even color-coordinate with the changing landscape. To me, the flavors of fall are some of the most warming and gratifying.

One of my all-time favorite flavor memories is pumpkin pie. In the States, you really only have pumpkin pie once or twice a year (usually at Thanksgiving) so the memory exists in a very specific time. In fact, I can remember my first time trying pumpkin pie. Being a very picky eater at the time, I was skeptical of a dessert openly advertising that it had an actual vegetable in it. But the sliver I was served happened to have a generous dollop of whipped cream on it, so I chose to put aside my prejudice and have a taste. I remember being astonished – so unusual, so yummy. I was a convert – long live vegetable desserts!

So here I am in Australia, and summer is quickly approaching. You can’t beat the sunshine, the beach and all the wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables of the season. But, forgive me , my seasonal clock has not been adjusted properly yet – I am craving the fall.

I decided to try out one of the more beautiful compromises I could think of: pumpkin pie ice cream —  a nod to the incoming seasons in both where I am at present and where I have been in the past. Very poetic, I know!

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Recipe (adapted from

  • 1.5 cups fresh mashed pumpkin (I roasted mine instead of boiling, to give it a more caramelized flavor)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Liter good-quality vanilla ice cream
  • Crushed up gingersnap cookies

1. While keeping the vanilla ice cream out to soften, combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl.

2. When the ice cream can be stirred easily, fold in pumpkin mixture and crushed up cookies. Smooth into an airtight container, pop into the freezer until refrozen.

The gingersnap cookies serve as a deconstructed crust – giving it a little crunch where it is needed.
The flavour is spot on – spicy pumpkin pie in creamy from. Craving and homesickness sated.