Spanish White Beans with Squash and Red Pepper Pilaf

{This is my Vegan Tuesday post, which obviously is late this week. It’s been one of those crazy weeks. Vacation in exactly 3 weeks, can’t wait.}

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Both of these recipes came from the very.last.issue. of Gourmet and both are naturally vegan. Both quick (even the prep time for the butternut squash–either I’m getting good or there was magic in the air), I came home from work at 6:30 pm, started the pilaf, then moved on to the beans, and finished both in time for my 8 pm yoga class. You’re supposed to add spinach to the beans, but I didn’t have any.

Click HERE for the Spanish Beans recipe and click HERE for the Squash & Red Pepper Pilaf recipe.

{db} Macarons! I got the feets!

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

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It often seems like the things I’m most trepid about making turn out to be easy. It happened with bagels and it happened again with this month’s Daring Bakers challenge. I’m back on track after missing two months and I was so excited when I found out the baking challenge was to make macarons.

I’ve wanted to bake these lovely French cookies for awhile and even took a class on how to make them at Surfas through Gourmandise Desserts. It was a fun class and I learned a few tips. The most important tip I learned was feet-achievement (the ridge at the bottom of each cookie half)  is a direct function of enough rest time after piping and before baking. You have to allow enough time for the exterior to harden before they go into the oven. That’s it. Now that I’ve made them once, I can’t wait to make them again. In fact, I decided I will make them every time I make ice cream. Use the yolks for ice cream and the whites for macarons. Perfect.

I made vanilla macarons using vanilla sugar and filled some with leftover peanut butter frosting, some with Nutella, and some with both peanut butter frosting and Nutella. I also sprinkled some with honey powder. The cookies came out perfect. Crunchy on the outside, with a slight chew. I served the macarons at my pizza party along with a gazillion other desserts and people loved them. It was very cool.

Thanks to Ami for hosting this month’s challenge. For the recipe visit her blog, Baking Without Fear.

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{twd} cherry-fudge brownie torte

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If you want a show-stopping dessert this is it. If you want a quick and easy treat this is NOT it. Luckily I had a party this week so I was in need of a fabulous dessert. With lots of dishes and ingredients, this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection, the Cherry-Fudge Brownie Torte, certainly fit the bill.

It’s a souped-up brownie with a hint of spice from coarsely-ground black pepper and liquored-up dried tart cherries. I love liquored-up dried fruit recipes because you get to set them on fire. Fun times.

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The torte is topped with a vanilla-flavored creamy mascarpone mousse. I decorated the top with sprinkled cocoa powder and chopped and whole chocolate-covered cherries.

The torte was so successful that it disappeared before I could try it. My guests loved it and really dug the surprise of the black pepper.

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The pizza party was also a success. All the guests had a fabulous time and can’t wait for my next party in January. Unfortunately, I didn’t take good pictures during the party. I was so busy rolling out dough and watching the oven. It was interesting to see the different ways people topped their pizza. Some were very methodical and took a along time creating their pizza, others were very haphazard.

The Dessert Spread, before party

The Dessert Spread, before party

I made 6 different types of pizza dough (which I divided into 5 oz individual pizza size ) and 4 different sauces. I provided some toppings and guests were told to bring their favorite toppings. We baked most on my pizza stone, but we also made a few pan-style.

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The Dessert Spread, after party

Thank you to April of Short + Rose for hosting this week’s selection. In addition to being a fabulous baker, she is also an avid gardener and crafter. I love reading about everything that comes out of her garden. If you would like the recipe for the torte visit her blog or buy the book.

{sms} devil’s food cake and peanut butter frosting

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The frosting was unbelievable. These were good. These were hit. Too tired to write more. Had big party; now have to clean.

Thanks to Holly of Phe/Mom/enom for hosting this week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays. If you would like the recipe, visit her blog or buy the book. Man, I’m tired.

mini pumpkin-gingerbread cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

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Today marks the last day of Pumpkin Week here on Pink Stripes. I’m officially pumpkin’d out. Not so much the eating part, but the making pumpkin recipes part. I’m so happy I’m going to be out of the country for Thanksgiving and won’t be around to make a pumpkin pie. The family always has to have a pumpkin pie; it’s not Thanksgiving without one.

The recipe for Mini Pumpkin-Gingerbread Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting comes from Whole Foods. I made them for my pizza party I’m hosting tonight.

You can find the recipe for the cupcakes HERE.

You can find the recipe for the frosting HERE.

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