I am thoroughly done with caring about going out on New Year’s Eve. I had plenty of fun for many years and now all I want to do is stay home. But I still like feasting in a celebratory way—one final hurrah before the chill of January’s fitness resolutions sets in. Over the years, we’ve assembled quite a roster of indulgent special occasion dishes here on butter poached, so I thought I’d do a round-up of some favorites that are definitely worthy of a spot on the table for a fancy New Year’s Eve meal. Happy 2017!
Around the holidays, I like to have cake on hand at all times. Cookies are great, too, but it’s cake that really feels festive to me. I like admiring a pretty cake under a dome and I like serving slices of sweetness on Santa Claus plates. As much as I love sinking hours into an elaborate cake project like a Bûche de Noël, the cakes I enjoy most this time of year are the simplest ones. This cranberry torte has been a favorite of mine for a couple of years. It’s a breeze to make, it’s decked out with merry pops of red, and it’s a balanced, sweet-tart treat that feels appropriate at any time of day.
I’ve posted a number of stir-fries (a couple of chicken dishes and pepper steak), but I try out way more stir-fries than I share. I’m particular about the flavors (they’d better be big) and the textures (crisp veggies, small pieces of meat, and a thick sauce), leaving many lackluster dishes to fall into the recipe compost bin of not-quite-good-enough. This spicy stir-fry featuring a ton of veggies and satisfying steak has been on repeat for over a year in our house, so I figured it was time to share.
I love to try new Thanksgiving recipes every year and I especially love sharing my fresh discoveries here (like this corn pudding, these sweet potatoes, and this corn casserole). But there are also many turkey day recipes that I’ve made over the years and haven’t yet had a chance to share. Rather than continue to hoard these half a dozen tried-and-true dishes, I decided to share them all at once below. If you’re still scratching your head for Thursday’s menu, I very much recommend these recipes.
I finally found a Thanksgiving dish that has Ed looking forward to turkey day. I’ve written before about how Ed’s chief Thanksgiving complaint is that the food doesn’t have enough crunch or heat. This dish, an easy-breezy, decadently cheesy corn casserole, has crunch and spice to spare. It’s one of the simplest, but most satisfying holiday sides I’ve made and I have a feeling it’s going to be in the rotation for years.
This is a story about a cooking experiment. I won’t call it a total failure, but it certainly wasn’t a success. It started yesterday at the last farmers market of the year (tear). I was browsing the locally produced flours and the rye flour caught my eye. My mental Pinterest board flashed to all of the buzz I’d read about the rye chocolate brownies from The Violet Bakery Cookbook. People loved them in the Piglet, the New York Times praised them, and there was a lot of discussion about them in the comments on Lottie and Doof. The interplay of dark chocolate and rye was something that took bakers by pleasant surprise and it made me very curious. I’d wanted to make them, but I never thought I’d find rye flour in Springfield. But here it was!
We’ve been hung up on pumpkin season for the past few weeks here at butter poached, but we can’t forget that it’s apple season, too. As I’ve written before, apple season is impressive in central Illinois. The farmers market is dominated by tables of multiple apple varieties: Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious, Gala, Jonagold, Rome, and Fuji, to name a few. By the time I decide which couple of apples I want to try for the week, I find myself carrying at least a few pounds of loot. If I want to treat myself the next Saturday with even more apples, I have to make fast work of my weekly haul. My latest, greatest way to put apples to an exceptionally tasty use is this roasted applesauce from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook.