butternut, bacon, and apple hotdish

tomorrow i go home to eggboy, the autumn, and probably a bunch of leftover containers that are still in the fridge from before i left two weeks ago. i am so gosh darn excited for two of those things! and to eggboy's credit, there are a zillion experiments in our fridges, some of them intentional and some of them unintentional, which i sometimes actually need for recipe development purposes so he's become trained not to throw anything away without explicit instructions. (like, have i told you that the clown cone, sprinkle cake, and cookie salad from molly on the range are still in my freezer because i was paranoid i'd lose all of my photos and would have to reshoot everything?)

so what's currently in our fridge is likely a bunch of butternut squash dishes. we got so much squash from our garden this year that i went wild with my cookbooks and cooked up a squash storm every day before i left. two of my favorite dishes were anna's butternut and cannellini gratin and claire ptak's squash cobbler. anna's dish is less creamy than a typical gratin, it's more like a hearty vegetable soup, and claire's dish opened up a world of savory cobblers to me. i couldn't get them out of my brain so eventually i combined them, added apples from our apple trees, and called it a hotdish like the lady of the north that i am. it pretty much follows the hotdish equation:

meat* + vegetables** + creamed soup*** + a starch****


**squash and onions

***okay, even though there's soup in here it isn't creamy but there's cheese on top so that's some good heavy dairy that counts for something?

****flakey buttery biscuits! 

the base has the lightness of anna's dish, but the biscuits add some oomph that make it a good special occasion meal or sunday supper.  i had chantell and brett over from fargo to enjoy it on a crisp fall morning the other day. we wandered around the farm, collecting squash from the garden, apples from our trees, and eggs from macaroni for the biscuit egg wash, and i wore my new fall fashions from old navy. you guys i'm so excited to be partnering with old navy again because you know how i won't shut up about how my current favorite aesthetic is naptime-chic? (as in garments that double as blankets so that no matter where you are, you are always as cozy as you'd want to be for a nap? think huge scarves and piles of soft layers.) old navy has all of that right now. blankety scarves, shirts that are comfy enough to be pajamas but nice enough to wear when guests are over, and that red and black lumbersexual number pictured above that's soft like a robe. and of course i like layering on all of my tops over their jeggings, aka yoga-pants-disguised-as-jeans, aka good apple tree shimmying pants.

the whole situation is as cozy as a nice hot bowl of this butternut hotdish so i'm hoping this post is encouraging you to be cozy both inside and out. 

butternut, bacon, and apple hotdish

serves 8


1 lb thick cut bacon

2 large purple onions, thinly sliced

kosher salt

2 lb squash, seeded, peeled, and chopped into 1/2” cubes

leaves from 6 sprigs fresh thyme

black pepper

crushed red pepper

2 large apples, chopped into 1/2” cubes

1/4 c white wine

1 c vegetable broth

for the biscuits:

2 c flour

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp kosher salt

14 tb unsalted butter, cold and cubed

1/4 c heavy cream

1 large egg

cheese, optional


preheat oven to 425ºf.

in a large skillet or pot, crisp the bacon. Transfer it to a paper towel. drain off most of the fat from the pan, you’ll want a thin coating to remain, add the onions and cook over medium high for 10 minutes, until soft. add the squash, thyme, a few turns of pepper and a few pinches of crushed red pepper and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally, and then add the wine and broth. give the bacon a rough chop and add it to the pan along with the apples. bring the mixture to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, while you make the biscuits. 

to make the biscuits, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. add the butter and, using a food processor or pastry cutter or your hands, incorporate the butter until the mixture is the consistency of oatmeal. mix in the cream until the mixture comes together to form a dough. turn it out onto a floured work surface, pat it out to 3/4” thick and then cut out round biscuits, re-rolling scraps as needed.

(note: you can also use torn crusty bread as the topping for your hotdish. i like this as a lower maintenance weekday option.)

pour the squash mixture into an oven-safe vessel such as a casserole dish or cast iron pan or dutch oven and then top it with the biscuits. brush the biscuits with the beaten egg and top with black pepper and grated cheese, if desired. bake until the biscuits are golden brown, begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes. enjoy!


pictured: jacket // shirt // sweater // jeggings // scarf

thank you, old navy (@oldnavy), for sponsoring this post! post your own style tips with the #oldnavystyle hashtags! disclaimer: per my sponsor agreement, the product links in this post are affiliate links. 

bacon caramel apples + pumpkin slice and bake cookies

happy back to the future day, everyone!!! on a scale from monday to birthday, i am registering at thanksgiving-level excitement right now because the back to the future trilogy have long been my favorite movies. i have even been rooting for the cubs this year because how crazy would that be if they won the world series after the movie predicted it?!?1?!!! i made a list of ways to celebrate back to the future day and here is another list about my favorite back to the future food scenes because they are my favorite food scenes in the history of movies. i'm probably going to have huey lewis and the news on repeat today. how are you celebrating?!

i've just returned from my quick trip to austin where i crammed in so many social situations that i barely recognized myself. or maybe that was because of the fake eyelashes that were glued onto my face (that i very clumsily yanked off at the dinner table in front of jeanine and jack because i left my tact in minnesota). i had surprise drinks accompanied by very intense cookie conversation with kristen and sarah, the most amazing vegetables and sprinkle ice cream sandwiches at launderette with jeanine and jack, brisket bourbon (!!!) with amy, and the loveliest breakfast at texas french bread with landen. and a bunch of chocolate on set for the super secret chocolatey video that i made with whole foods that'll be on the internet soon!

now that i'm back, i am ready to think about halloween. i am ready to plan our costumes, take advantage of the pumpkins that magically appeared on their own in our garden, and pick all of the apples from our trees which are bursting with glee! i have lots of excitement.

i recently developed two halloweeny recipes for le creuset and their line of metal bakeware. the first is a little savory twist on a caramel apple that involves candied bacon because caramel should always be salted (right?) and bacon is a great way to eat salt (right??). you can find that recipe over on le creuset's site.

and the second recipe is pumpkin slice and bake cookies! they make me wanna put on footie pajamas and turn on full house because slice and bake cookies were the cookies of my michelle tanner-ed youth. you too? excellent. 

these take a little bit of added effort to make, but they are so much fun. essentially you make one long orange oval with a stem on top and then wrap it in chocolate dough, so when you slice a cross section of it, you've got a pumpkin shape! the orange dough in this recipe is vanilla flavored, but if you'd like to throw some pumpkin spice in the mix, that would be super tasty too.

pumpkin slice and bake cookies

makes 16-18


For the orange center:

1 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
20 drops red liquid food coloring
20 drops yellow liquid food coloring

For the outer chocolate section:

3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla


First, make the dough for the orange pumpkin center. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, powdered sugar and salt. Add the butter and continue to pulse until it is a mealy texture.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, vanilla and food coloring. With the food processor running, drizzle in the egg yolk mixture and process until it becomes a dough. Turn it out onto a clean work surface.

Shape the dough into a 9-inch long round log, then flatten slightly so it becomes an oval shape. Slice off a small bit of the dough on the end, and roll it out into a long skinny snake. Place this on top of the oval so that in a cross section, it becomes the pumpkin’s stem. Place the dough in the freezer while you make the chocolate dough.

To make the chocolate dough, pulse together the flour, cocoa powder, powdered sugar and salt. Add the butter and continue to pulse until it is a mealy texture.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and vanilla. With the food processor running, drizzle in the egg yolk mixture and process until it becomes a dough. Turn it out onto a clean work surface.

Roll the dough into 9-inch long skinny snakes. Stick these snakes around the perimeter of the orange dough, then roll the entire log a bit to smooth it out. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and freeze 20 – 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the log into 1/2-inch-thick disks, and place them on a baking sheet one inch apart. Bake for about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. enjoy!

this recipe is part of sara's virtual pumpkin party!!! check out her blog for all of the other good lookin pumpkin recipes that populated the internet today! i am especially excited about the savory recipes, like steph's pumpkin and pork stuffed shells and sarah's harissa pumpkin gnocchi.


thank you for sponsoring this post, le creuset!!!!

chocolate olive oil cake with candied bacon

three and a half operas down, two to go! the half opera was supposed to be a whole opera but then a tornado came down and all of our power blew away so we drank bourbon instead. have i mentioned that practically every other day there is a tornado warning?? sometimes it's scary, usually it's just rumbly and deliciously cloudy, once there was a meager little watch during dinner time and we went out in the name of rattlesnake sausage. we were fine until we learned that it was the wrong day for rattlesnake at the sausage place. obviously i was actually very relieved because obviously i didn't really want to eat rattlesnake, i just wanted to be able to tell you that i did. whatever, i'm over it. 

in three days, i'll go home and once again be able to snuggle with my oven and kitchen-aid and eggboy, and i am so excited. but i will also miss my opera family dearly until we reconvene in california in june. i'll miss this music and our hotel lobby dinner parties and our post-show taco outings that end with one delicious square of condensed milk red velvet cake, passed around a table of 12. i'll miss all of that and the vibraphone. 

but my heavens, it's been three entire weeks since i baked something and i can't hardly believe it. presumably the oven has been untouched since i left, and i can't wait to fill it with all of the cake and pizza and bread to make up for lost time.

i suppose before i start thinking about the first thing that i'm going to bake when i get home, i'll tell you about the last thing that i baked before i left. it is a loaf cake, because loaf cakes are so lovably cute and one day i want to have a loaf cake spread like the rose bakery loaf cake spread. this cake is also to celebrate the birthday of the wonderful melinda strauss over at kitchen tested!! it's super earthy and dark and moist and paired with candied bacon because bacon was the first word out of melinda's mouth when i asked her what type of cake she would like. never mind that she's kosher, the cake never made it within a thousand miles of her, but it's the thought (and the instagrams??) that count! happiest of birthdays to you, sweet melinda!!!  

chocolate olive oil cake with candied bacon

makes one 2-layer loaf cake


1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1 3/4 c sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/3 c olive oil

1 1/4 c whole milk

3 large eggs

1 tsp almond extract

1/2 c orange juice


the candied bacon and frosting recipes are over on melinda's blog!



preheat oven to 350.

grease two loaf pans (i use 8-inch by 4-inch pans) and line the bottoms with parchment. 

in a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. in a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. pour the batter into the loaf pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at about 40 minutes. 

let cool for 10 minutes in the pans and then turn onto a cooling rack. turn the oven up to 400 for the bacon. go on over to melinda's blog for the candied bacon and frosting recipes and then assemble as follows:

level one of the cake layers and pipe or spread on a thick layer of frosting. if desired, add a handful of bacon. top it with the other cake layer and top with additional frosting and bacon. 

slice and enjoy! 


naptime in a bed of stuffing

you know, for how good stuffing tastes, you'd think it'd dress a little nicer for the occasion. it always looks so disheveled and unkempt, like please, we are at an event, would it have killed you to run a brush through your hair? (i guess i shouldn't talk?) it was probably stuffing's beat up homeless look that kept me from trying it for the first approximately 18 years of my life. if someone had told me that it's just bread with a few harmless vegetables and tons and tons of fat, i would have been all in.

maybe that was my family's plan all along: keep molly alienated from the stuffing so that there's more for us.

oh well, they won!

but now i'm making up for lost time. i've been dipping my toes in these past few years with challah stuffingsufganiyot stuffing, and a soon-to-come bagel stuffing, and now i'm thinking i'm grown-up enough to make a boozy one. it's inspired by shelly's pretzel panzanella, it references my past life as a mustard collector, and it requires you to open a can of beer, pour a little bit into the stuffing, and then pour a lotta bit into your mouth because what is a giant dora the explorer float without a slight buzz anyway? oh, and bacon!!!!! duh. 

this recipe is over on jones dairy farm's stuffing microsite! it might be one of the jolliest sites ever, because my stuffing is cozied up next to outrageous things like cinnamon roll stuffing and hawaiian sweet bread stuffing and a bagillion other casseroles of love that i just want to take a nap in once i'm all tryptophanned out and ready to explode. 

thanksgiving is in 15 days people!!!!!!!!!!! get jazzed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


thank you so much to jones dairy farm for sponsoring this post!!! they are the bee's knees and you should all check out their stuffing site because it's got >25 stuffing recipes, a stuffing vs. dressing poll (team stuffing 4ever), cooking tips, a $1 off coupon, and a really great aqua/lime green color scheme. follow them on fb and twitter for giveaways, tips, and other fun goodies!