Pear, Cheddar, and Caramelized Onion Tart

Pear, Cheddar, and Caramelized Onion Tart (c) 2012 La Domestique

I’ve been busy in the test kitchen developing holiday entertaining recipes for a client, and today I’d like to share a savory tart with you. The components can be prepared ahead of time (the pastry pre-baked), later assembled and baked just before serving. High-quality puff pastry can be found in the freezer section of the grocery store, and bakes up into a flaky, buttery tart base. The toppings are a combination of four autumnal ingredients: slow-cooked caramelized onions for rich sweetness, thyme contributes a woodsy note, and Bosc pears, a baking fruit with crisp, juicy texture, combine beautifully with the nutty, sharp flavor of aged cheddar. Slice the tart into squares and serve it at casual gatherings with cocktails, beers, or mulled wine. It’s a delicious small bite that “tastes like more” as the husband would say.

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Election Day Chicken Drumsticks

Pomegranate Glazed Chicken Drumsticks (c) 2012 La Domestique

Sweet and sour glazed chicken is a dish democrats and republicans can all agree on. Tuesday, November 6, our country will elect the next President of the United States of America. Many of us will gather, family and friends, to watch election coverage on television. There will be heated discussions over the dinner table and cheers (or tears) as results roll in. Pomegranate Glazed Chicken Drumsticks is a festive appetizer, perfect for serving a crowd. An economical finger food, drumsticks pair nicely with beer, cocktails, or a big bowl of party punch. Inspired by the technique from Giada De Laurentis’s Balsamic Chicken Drumettes, I created my own sweet and sticky glaze with the exotic flavor of pomegranate molasses. If you’ve never cooked with pomegranate molasses, it’s syrupy and tart, a reduced pomegranate juice found in the Middle Eastern section of large grocery stores. The combination of pomegranate molasses, orange juice, cinnamon, brown sugar, and garlic, makes for a deeply flavored, sweet, fruity, and gently spiced marinade that tenderizes and flavors the chicken, caramelizing deep golden brown and crisp in the oven.

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Halloween Barmbrack, an Irish Tradition

Halloween Barmbrack (c)2012 La Domestique

Barmbrack – such a strange word to those of us who didn’t grow up in Ireland. Originating from the Gaelic language, bairín, is a reference to the yeast of fermented bear and breac, notes the speckled appearance of currants and golden raisins. This sweet bread is leavened with yeast, enriched with milk and butter, and infused with cinnamon and nutmeg. Tokens are wrapped in parchment, then folded into the bread dough to be discovered later when the bread is sliced. My Irish husband’s favorite Halloween memory is of gathering at the table with his family to slice into the barmbrack. Each token symbolizes a different prediction for the future. Find a ring in your slice and you’ll be married soon. The matchstick predicts an unhappy marriage. A pea foretells poverty, a coin, wealth. It’s great fun to see who gets what, laughing at the good and the bad (which is very Irish).

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Cook in the Moment: Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup (c)2012 La Domestique

It’s been quiet here at La Domestique. I went home to Arkansas to stay with my sister and help with the baby while her husband was away. The day after I returned to Colorado, my husband surprised me with a spontaneous trip to Florida to celebrate our fifth anniversary. We had a relaxing time in the Florida Keys, then stopped off at Disney World (where the husband asked me to marry him six years ago) and Universal Studios for a little magic and roller coasters. While I love the nostalgia of the Magic Kingdom, visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was my favorite. Ollivanders wand shop was just like in the movie, and we couldn’t resist walking away with a couple of magic wands (remember, the wand chooses the wizard). It was fun to leave the stresses of the adult world at the door and just be a kid again with my husband.

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Inspiration from Nature: Color, Shape, and Pattern

Hammock in the trees (c)2012 La Domestique

October is flying by and it seems all my projects involve everything but food. Being a freelancer is fun because I never know what kind of project lies just around the corner. Most recently, I photographed my friend Kerry, founder of Comma Workshop, quilting in her beautiful studio and I’m working on a project styling luxury handwoven purses with a photographer for another client. Food is still my favorite subject, but it’s fun to branch out and grow as an artist. I don’t have a recipe for you today, but I would like share a few photos I captured on a trip to Seattle in August. Nature is a huge inspiration for my lifestyle and food styling. Even though it was still technically summer in Seattle, the overcast skies and cool temperatures felt very autumnal. Usually, when I think of lying in a hammock I picture ocean waves, sunny skies, and a refreshing drink, but it’s interesting to see a hammock at the edge of dark and mysterious woods. Instead of a lemonade I picture sipping a cuppa hot tea and getting lost in a copy of Alice in Wonderland.

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