from Food 52. An absolutely wonderful resource.

from Food 52.com – An absolutely wonderful resource.

I have been waiting for the opportunity to make this quiche with butternut squash and glazed onion.
I had the time but not the onion! We fixed that.

Actually I had to borrow an onion. I am never out of onions, but there I was naked.

Called my wonderful neighbor, Barbara, and she had one large onion. I’ll take it and return it tomorrow, I said with a huge smile. Here is the delicious recipe. Enjoy!

Caramelized Onion and Butternut Squash Tart
Serves 6 to 8 as a main

Note: I used Pillsbury Pie Crust – Delicious.
home made recipe pastry dough (see below)

Ingredients:

• 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2 large yellow onions, halved and sliced
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 eggs
• 8 ounces crème fraîche (or sour cream)
• 4 ounces Gruyère, grated (or cheddar)
• 2 ounces Parmesan, grated
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 4 sprigs thyme (I didn’t have fresh thyme, used the jar version)

Instructions:

1. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, thyme sprigs, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring to mix. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until dark golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove thyme stems.
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450° F. Toss butternut squash with olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and spread out on evenly on baking sheet. Bake until browned and very soft, stirring once, about 40 minutes.
3. Reduce oven heat to 350° F. Roll dough out until thin and press into a well-greased 10-inch tart pan. Prick all over with a fork and bake in oven 10 minutes.
4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, crème fraîche, gruyère, Parmesan, and black pepper.
5. Spread caramelized onions in bottom of tart and top with butternut squash. Pour gruyère mixture over the squash, making sure to spread it evenly throughout the tart.
6. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Pastry Dough:
• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 stick butter
• 4 tablespoons ice water
1. Cut butter into 1-tablespoon pieces and freeze for 10 minutes.
2. Mix flour and salt in food processor or large bowl.
3. If using food processor, add butter and mix until mixture resembles small pea-sized balls. If mixing by hand, work quickly, mixing the butter in with your hands until it forms small pea-sized balls.
4. Add in ice water and mix just until dough forms and comes together. Form into disk, wrap in plastic, and place in fridge for 20 minutes.

I served this with roasted carrots and orange pepper the first time and broccoli the second time.
Mmmm, Mmmm Good.

Note: Barbara got two slices of this sumptuous tarte – so she did get the onion back!

xmas-tree-brownie-by-onelittleproject

I believe this picture says it all! Our 4th Annual Cookies & Cocktails was wonderful. You have to bring either an appetizer or a dessert. We devour the delectable appetizers and steal a sweet or two. We visit with new and old friends. I sometimes have games which the young at heart get involved with but most are just happy to visit. Not wanting to search for chocolate Kisses confounds me but then the stuffed mushrooms aren’t bad either. Oh and the Christmas Music and the Decorated and Lighted Tree are huge components of this magical evening.

Here are the stuffed mushrooms: Enjoy!

Mushrooms ala Lynda & Lydia

Stuffing is stuffing.

But it does go from boring to outstanding!
I find when you incorporate cheese and sausage you have divine.
Bread makes it go further, greens makes it prettier and healthier.
And An egg binds the trinity.

For however many mushrooms you are stuffing:

Celery, chopped
Onion, chopped
Garlic, chopped/minced
Mushroom stems, chopped
Greens: parsley, chives or scallion greens, chopped spinach
Sausage loose or removed from casing
¼ to ½ cup bread cubes or crumbs
½ to 1 cup Grated cheese of your choice (cheddar or Gruyere or wonderful)
1 tsp. thyme
Salt and pepper
Chicken Broth to moisten ½ cup or so.
Parmesan Cheese is always a welcome addition
One beaten egg salted (to bind)

Sauce:

Butter
Wine or chicken stock
Salt & Pepper

Clean your mushrooms with the veritable paper towel, the most tedious job on earth.

Chop them medium to finely and add them to the trinity below making it a quartet.
I always use butter and olive oil to sauté these guys.

Start with the holy trinity of celery, onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent, a good 8-10 minutes.
Salt & Pepper always in order. Add your Thyme here as well.

Transfer quartet to medium bowl to cool. In the same pan sauté your loose sausage, hot or mild
Drain the fat from the sausage or not. Add to the vegetable mixture to cool.
Keep this pan handy for oven simmering sauce.

All of these ingredients are non-measurable because it works any way you like. If you are using a lot of cheese you don’t need much in the way of bread. I was cooking for a lactose intolerant, so I omitted the cheese and made up the bulk with the bread cubes. The kind you use for turkey stuffing are great or just use bread crumbs. One beaten egg is usually enough.

Add the wet ingredient as needed, a little bit of the chicken broth and the egg beaten. You should be ready to stuff the mushrooms now. Or put this in the fridge for the next day. Or stuff the mushrooms and put in the fridge or the oven.

This last little bit I just learned from Lidia Bastianich.

Use a 2” inch deep vessel. 8×8 or 9×13 depending on your batch size.
Make a quick sauce in the same pan you used to sauté the vegetables with more butter and wine and little bit of salt and pepper. Sauté until golden.

Add the mushrooms to the buttered baking dish. Oven is preheated to 425 degrees.

Cook for 20-25 minutes until tops are crispy. Enjoy!

holiday_windows_tiffany_2016-11-of-15

This is Tiffany’s dramatic, gorgeous beautiful window, an absolutely wonderful part of the Season’s Festivities.

Another part of Christmas I adore is the card exchange. We shop early for our cards, we debate or shall I say negotiate, which cards we like best, we end up buying at least three different boxes so that all parties are satisfied.

I save all the cards that come with family pictures so that I can see the children grow up! It’s a miracle, from five year olds to twenty-five! Every year it’s a delightful time to review these and receive the latest one to add to the collection.

One joy I especially treasure is the Christmas letter. A special one comes from Jean. Always a lovely letter, filled with good news. How her family is doing, how the granchildren are growing, what goals have been reached, what big decisions have been made the past year. I enjoyed receiving a Christmas Letter from someone new this year and it inspired me to try my hand at this endeavor. Not that I can replicate these precious moments of someone else’s life or even want to, but it so beautifully and perfectly conveyed the Joy of Christmas. Five year olds tearing off wrapping paper that you know was carefully taped in place, with Merry Christmas or the wrinkle free crisp paper’s logo front and center. Bows and ribbons for decoration all go to shreds as kids tear away these beautiful wrappings. As soon as they are done, the instant they have one open, it’s on to the next one. Not that this was ever my experience, but I watch my grand nieces and nephews do this and I am in awe. This is part of the joy of Christmas. Imagine the anticipation of waiting – no wonder the year between this one and the next one always did feel like forever. Now those twelve months feel like one month. January to December – Swish! It’s done! Why does time fly more quickly as we grow older? We certainly have lost some of this exuberance of Christmas, of opening gifts for the mere joy of it. That’s why it is such a blessing to have these babies, these youngsters among us, they remind us of the real joy of the Holidays, to be loved and cared for.

Our year was splendid. The golf course was renovated and we thoroughly enjoyed taking a tour in the golf cart many evenings with Maggie our Westie – who I think enjoyed the ride more than we did! Which of course compounded our own joy. It was a nine month project. Very exciting. Not too noisy, not too dusty.

Jim’s golf game has improved splendidly, I have had several exciting Interior Design Jobs, I have rejoined Toastmasters. We did a trial evacuation with Hurricane Matthew. Went to Sebring, two hours northwest of Tequesta. We were spared by a hairsbreadth! Another excursion took us to my niece, Lauren’s baby shower in Baton Rouge. We drove there and back with Maggie, what a splendid time we had. We got to see how my sister and her family have put their lives back together after the Baton Rouge Flood. Twenty four inches of rain, the interior had to be totally renovated. This was true for the entire neighborhood. Incredible. Volunteers drove by with meals. Others came by and did your laundry for you. Just amazing, beautiful stories of people caring for people.

We went to NJ to celebrate a friend and a nephew’s birthday! Eighty years old and six years old! What a treat! That was in October and all the trees were orange. That was icing on the cake. I went to the Norton Museum’s Festival of Trees and that was so awesome I can’t believe it’s their tenth Anniversary and it was my first visit. I’ve had at least two puppy parties and if you haven’t had one or been to a puppy party, boy are you missing a fantastic event! Our love to you and enjoy your Holiday and Your New Year! Lynda & Jim Louden

festival-of-trees-poodle-skirt-2016

Norton Festival of Trees 2016

christmas-2016-by-delightfulleu

by-delightfulleu

It’s a big job to decorate the house for the Holidays. It depends how much you do, but between gifting, wrapping, mailing and the house décor it takes more than the Thanksgiving Holiday to get done. I should read a self-help book and get some pointers. The wallpaper in the living room fits in nicely with a Winter Scheme. The shelves over the fireplace can be easily changed out, what a great idea! Holiday or everyday! Changing out your throws is a great way to update seasonally or for the Holidays.

I do tend to get carried away. But it’s oh so much fun! The tree is up. Most of the presents are wrapped – shipping them all on Monday! Oh! Oh! Oh!

To the youngsters I’m saying they are from Santa’s Helpers.

happy-socks-2016

As I mentioned in this weeks newsletter, we don’t have to get something wild, wonderful, kinky and brand new. Why not gift something that is fun and something that you always need – like a fun pair of socks or a Holiday tie.

There is so much too explore shopping on line, it’s easy to find something cute, wonderful or perfect for everyone on your list. Well, okay it’s not that easy, but it is amazing how much is available. Amazing puzzles of any subject matter are out there. You do have to know something about the recipient, if you don’t chocolate or fine wine is always in order.

puzzle-2016

If you have dog lovers on your gift list, what about this darling book? It’s food for both of you. Cooking for your puppy is all the rage right now.

dog-gone-good-food-cookbook

whimsical-holiday-decor-from-cb2

by CB2

This is a great Holiday Collection. (above) One designer said regarding Holiday decorating, “I never do the same thing twice.” That’s a lot of work, but it also keeps the creative juices flowing.

We all have collections (don’t we?) and what better time to pull these treasures out and display them in some classic, retro or unusual way. Christmas Décor is usually traditional, woodsy, evergreens, the alternatives however, are equally as stunning.

Most of us are already started with the tree and house décor. Why not enjoy the Holiday, extend the Holiday, it’s such a joyous and beautiful time.

Here is a more traditional vignette. (below) The rustic bench provides a great surface, and being able to use the floor as a surface is great. I can imagine doing something different every year with this pretty setting. Change the color scheme. Use a little red wagon one year, add a small tree another year. Add a Santa Claus or a snowman another year! Hey it’s not too much work!

christmas-entryway-wayfair

by Wayfair

The same with the modern console, change the colors – change the theme. Modern nut crackers, metal colored ornaments, mirrored and glass items and as many straight lines as possible.

A little bit funky or retro is a nice change. (below) Maybe you are in between places – this might be a good time to explore your options. What can you do wild and crazy? Or just a little bit wild and crazy?

 

modern-retro-christmas-vignette-pinterest-2016

posted by Pinterest

The ‘FAMILY’ carpet here is so wonderful. (above) It says so much about what this person’s values doesn’t it? A great example of how one piece not related in style sets off the whole arrangement, the Louis chair looks quite at home with the bold red, white and black and the multi-colored contemporary ‘wreath’.

Please take these ideas and incorporate them in your own holiday decorations! Let me know what you love and what you are going to try! Ideas and inspiration abound! Seasons Greetings!

photo-frames-by-personalizationmall

Here is something always appreciated. I love to give frames with the photo already inserted; something special you captured and will just delight the loved one. Giving gifts is difficult, but is usually more fun than receiving them don’t you think? It’s hard to figure out what to give to someone you love. Do you give something useful, something consumable, something beautiful or something that’s just silly?

I guess you can do any or all of the above. Always give within your budget. It really is the thought and the exchange that matters most. A gift wrapped so pretty you don’t even want to open it, is a big part of the event.

presents-wrapped-by-lia-griffith

Wrapping your gifts so they are in theme with your tree is a great idea. I tried this and it didn’t work. You can’t control the gifts that come to you and I wasn’t going to make a big production out of it by re-wrapping or making a separate stash. Maybe one of these days when I have a tree in every room I can do this!

Christmas Tree 2014 Beach Theme

Come back to this blog for more ideas on gifts, wrapping and decorating!