Roasted Pear-Butternut Squash Soup with Stilton

This is one of our all-time favorite soup recipes...I first made it a few years ago as a starter for Thanksgiving but it’s been popping up a few times a year since.  The beautiful thing about this recipe is that it is so easy...chop up some veggies, roast them at a high heat, cool and puree.  Done!  And any soup that has a little cheese sprinkled on top has a fan in me...I love me some cheese, the stinkier and stronger the better! Makes ~ 4 entree sized servings, serve along with warm crusty bread
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Salmon Panzanella

Summer is here, summer is here! This is one of my all-time favorite Summer recipes, and I've been making it for years. It is THE taste of Summer to me. The original recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Eating Well in Season and it's honestly so perfect I don't think I've adapted it too much...primarily just the bread preparation. This is one of those dishes that is perfect for a romantic dinner for two out on your patio on a warm evening or great for a Summer party since it scales up well and doesn't need to be served warm.  It's easy to make, healthy and super delicious...this is one recipe that you'll keep in your Summer rotation for years to come.
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Perfection in Brooklyn: The Blanca/Roberta’s Experience

The juxtaposition of Blanca & Roberta's

Oh, Brooklyn...you've won me over within one corner block in Bushwick alone. I rarely write restaurant reviews but this place made me so happy in my soul that I had to share it with all of you. Blanca and Roberta's are sister restaurants run by the same chef with vastly different vibes. The juxtaposition between the two (and the foodie internet radio station sandwiched in between!) is absolutely irresistible...read on for a photo journey through my experience at both a 2 star Michelin restaurant and an amazing hipster pizzeria. Be forewarned, this is going to get you revved up and hungry for your next trip to Brooklyn...

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SavoryGirl’s Favorite Recipes for a Great Pizza Making Night
Showing off our Pizza Perfection As I'm coming up on my last day of the Whole30 I can't seem to stop thinking about pizza! So I found some photos from a pizza making class I took a while back that was fun, delicious and totally worth sharing with all of you so you can make these great pizzas yourself. The class was at the San Francisco Cooking School , which I highly recommend, and their dough and sauce recipes are fantastic. Super fun for a Sunday family/friend dinner experience that will bring everyone together for a good time to connect, cook and eat some yummy food.  Buon appetito!

First things first, let's make that pizza dough so it has ample time to rise...
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Eating My Way Through Maui!
SavoryGirl is heading to Maui for Christmas...and that means an opportunity to eat my way around the island! I've never been to this island so I'm pretty excited to explore, but honestly the two times I went to Oahu I wasn't super impressed.  So to prepare I reached into my network of friends who both frequent Maui and have family who live there and know how to eat like locals.  Meaning I'm feeling pretty confident of my picks although there are way too many of them for even SavoryGirl to get through in one trip.  You know me though, I'll certainly do my best!  Luckily my boyfriend is as big of a foodie as I am and will need no convincing to jump in our convertible to drive along gorgeous scenic views just for the chance to try some delicious food.

Take a look at my map above, if you click on each locale you'll see a ton of information pasted into each one so you don't need to go research it separately. We're doing a luau at our hotel for our Christmas Dinner which should be a fun twist on tradition (which let's be honest holiday traditions are hard for me to change or give up...but I figure once I throw on a bikini I'll all of a sudden be ok with it!).   Of course, if I'm missing any must-eat spots (beyond a few I know of that I couldn't add to the map due to unreliable locations...see below) please do let me know!

A few more not on the map:
  • Yellow "BBQ Grill Island Style" hut near mile marker 35
  • Gogi Food Truck
  • Like Poke Truck at the Saturday Swap Meet
  • Foodie spots on the Road to Hana...see separate map below for those
Now, of course we are going to do more than just eat.  We have a plane tour scheduled to take us over Maui and the active volcano on the Big Island, we're scuba/snorkeling, hiking, beach bumming and doing the sunrise on top of Haleakala then tackling the Road to Hana on the same day.  That last one is an ambitious undertaking...but if you're interested I've provided the map I created (with foodie stops specific to that route) below.  Do your research before deciding to take this on though, we're being a bit crazy doing both in the same day!
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Christmas Eve Fondue Party!

There are two Christmas Eve traditions in the SavoryGirl household:  Everyone gets to open one small gift and we celebrate the night before Christmas with a 3-course intimate fondue party, complete with board games, crackling T.V. fireplace and all! I know a 3-course fondue party sounds like it may be a bit of an effort, but to be honest, beyond cutting up all of the things you want to dip in the fondue it's a super easy and very festive  meal.
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Paula Deen’s Rum Pumpkin Pie with Praline Pecans

It's that time of year again...time to overbook our schedules with cocktail parties, gift exchanges and eat way too much yummy food! You know, those foods that you love but only have at this time of year...for me Paula Deen's Rum Pumpkin Pie with Praline Pecans that I make every Thanksgiving is at the top of that list. I first tried this recipe years ago when I began hosting my own big Thanksgiving dinners for friends and I haven't gone back to plain old traditional pumpkin pie since!

So what makes this pie so addictive? First, the depth of flavor that just the slight bit of added rum adds. It doesn't seem like 2 tablespoons of rum would make that big of a difference, but trust me, don't skimp here. Second the perfect layer of whipped cream covering the entire top of the pie is essential.  No more single dollop of whip cream per slice...a whole layer on top of the freshly made topping is the way to go. Lastly the praline pecans...make more than the recipe calls for and sprinkle on top liberally. This sweet, crunchy, nutty addition adds the perfect amount of textural distinction to an otherwise melt in your mouth creamy pie. If you're feeling ambitious and want to make your own pie crust, Paula's Perfect Pie Crust is a fantastic recipe...buttery and flaky. Of course, there's no shame in store-bought pie crust...just buy the frozen sheets of  rolled out dough that you put in your own pan which is much better than the kind that is frozen and already pressed into a tinfoil pan.

Whatever you decide about your crust, make sure this pie is filling it...you'll be the talk of your Thanksgiving party and have everyone wishing you made two. Seriously...this is the only dessert that I've ever hid from people so I can have the leftovers all to myself!
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Spicy Cranberry-Pepper Jelly

Simple Ingredients Make for an Amazing Cranberry-Pepper Jelly

I have been slightly obsessed with this Spicy Cranberry-Pepper Jelly since I first made it back in 2011...which is funny because until that point I was a die-hard canned cranberry sauce girl. Gasp!  I know, I know, but it reminds me of childhood and I do still love it. But now, I look forward to this Spicy Cranberry-Pepper Jelly more than almost anything else at Thanksgiving.  And the great thing is that this condiment is so yummy and versatile that it lives well past Turkey Day. Fantastic on turkey sandwiches of course, but also great with baked brie or really paired with any cheese. It also makes a nice cracker dip along with some cream cheese.

This cranberry-pepper jelly knows no bounds and it's super easy to make as well. I'm posting it nice and early because I always make a triple batch the week before Thanksgiving and give out jars of it to all of my direct reports at work as a nice little holiday gift. The recipe is from the 2011 Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appétit with only a couple of very minor SavoryGirl adaptions included below.

So first things first...the ingredients. Super simple ingredients here along with a heavy-bottomed pan and you're ready to go:

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Braised Broccoli Rabe with Orecchiette

Orecchiette, Rapini and Sausage

This is another one of my old-standby favorite recipes which makes it into the rotation almost once a month during the cooler months.  It’s super easy and oh-so delicious...I consider it a slightly more upscale comfort food. Great for a cold or rainy night, the type of dish that warms the soul and makes the house smell delish.

Broccoli Rabe is also known as Rapini and what I love about it in particular is how the greens develop a slightly bitter, horseradish-like flavor, yum.  Orecchiette is an ear shaped pasta that stays nice and firm when cooked so that it has a nice bite to it.
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SavoryGirl’s Cooking Something Up…Join DolceVita’s Wine Country Safari!

Vineyards

You may have noticed that my posts have been a bit less frequent lately...and for that, I apologize. But I'm working on something super exciting! I'm working on a business idea I've had for a very long time...an exclusive immersive, behind the scenes, all-inclusive experience in wine country. Why am I doing this?  Well...I believe that visiting wine country often feels like going to the zoo: uninspiring winery tours, usually leading to crowded tasting rooms. But I also believe that visiting wine country can be more like embarking on a true, authentic safari: exclusive, private tastings, behind-the-scene, hands-on activities, farm-to-table dining with local chefs and winemakers. So that's the experience I'm building...and as of right now I'm calling it DolceVita Wine Country Safari. 

There are still a lot of details to figure out and one of the steps I'm taking to make progress is to host a prototype weekend in Sonoma (hopefully October 9-11 but we may end up moving it out a bit).  The goal of this weekend is not only to start to build out the idea more fully but to also get live feedback from actual guests.  If you're interested or know others who might be please check out dvwinesafari.com for the full itinerary, pricing guide and instructions on how to join us for the weekend.  It's truly going to be epic, educational and delicious...we have a lot of great things planned! Since it's our first time doing this I'm offering it at a pretty amazing discounted rate so I make sure to fill the spots and get maximum learning...so act fast if you're interested.

I'll keep you all updated on my progress here but I do also have a whole list of really fun new SavoryGirl posts that I'm planning as well. I'm just having to split focus and put a bit more energy into DolceVita at the moment...but stay tuned on both fronts, exciting times ahead!

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