• Posted by Califia Suntree on December 19th, 2014, 5:42 AM

    Though I simply do not and will not ever understand the whole PSL phenomenon (that’s Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, of course—it even has its own Twitter account, @TheRealPSL, with 91,000 followers and counting), who can argue with pumpkin and spice? Last year, I made my Thanksgiving pumpkin pie with garam masala, and vowed I would never do anything different. This year, though, I decided to do away with crust and just make a decadent pie filling that we could eat with a spoon—in other words, a flan, with pumpkin—and spiced it with chai. It worked. I’m always looking for ways to limit my dairy intake, so I made it mostly with light coconut milk, and then ramped up the coconut flavor with a splash of Malibu rum in the whipped cream topping. (Note: Malibu-rum-spiked whipped cream is also really, really good on key lime pie.) You can make the flan nondairy by using all  coconut milk and topping it with a dollop of whipped coconut cream. The chai is like pumpkin pie spice with extra oomph—the combination just works.

    Coconut-Chai Pumpkin Flan Read on… »

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on September 12th, 2014, 9:21 AM

    Alma Handmade Chocolates is my favorite sweets shop in Portland, and not just because they make these adorbs hazelnut hedgehogs. Alma’s confections (like their pistachio-filled bon bons, Thai peanut butter cups, and epic barks) foreground flavor, not just sweetness. The sugar is ratcheted down, and the inspired fillings and toppings–and, of course, the ethically sourced pure dark chocolate–amped up. I love popping in on a winter’s day for a demitasse of pudding-thick hot chocolate, looking out their big windows at the rainy streets…They are, to me, pure Portland, and now Alma is doubling down on its Oregon-ness by teaming up with Pendleton Woolen Mills, a true local institution. A select line of Alma chocolates featuring Oregon-produced ingredients like sea salt, cherries, and hazelnuts, will be available in gorgeous Pendleton-designed packaging now through the holidays at all Pendleton stores (including outlet locations). Go here to find the location nearest you, and stock up. The holidays are closer than you think, and I can think of no better way to share a taste of Oregon.

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on November 28th, 2011, 6:09 AM

    The best part of Thanksgiving is leftovers. (And togetherness and gratitude and blah blah blah. Mostly, it’s pumpkin pie for breakfast.) But there always seems to be way too much cranberry sauce, and very few ways to use it once the leftover turkey is eaten up. When I found myself with both a half-gone can of cranberry sauce and a bowl of persimmons from my dad’s tree ripening forlornly in the fridge, I decided to try and use them both up at once. Et voilà, this slightly sweet tea cake filled with little bites of persimmon, walnuts and bursting cranberries. The cake is dairy-free, extremely low in fat, and particularly good for breakfast (though not as good as pumpkin pie).

    Read on… »

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on November 17th, 2011, 9:08 AM

    Once November rolls around, I find myself looking for as many ways as possible to use cranberry sauce. It’s my favorite part of holiday eating–I consider turkey a cranberry-sauce delivery system, and pile it on accordingly–and I’m always thrilled to come across unexpected uses for the stuff. (Cranberry-sauce margaritas are a tradition of mine–I’ll post that recipe soon–and I’m trying to perfect a cranberry-sauce-based tea cake…) So I was pretty thrilled when, at a recent breakfast at Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park, I was served delightful fresh pumpkin pancakes topped with maple syrup and, yes, cranberry sauce! The pancakes are standard-issue whole wheat, studded with diced, cooked pumpkin. And the sauce is your typical canned variety, all bursting berries and oozy red syrup. But the overall effect was surprising, not too  sweet, and totally comforting. Forget the holiday rigmarole–serve these tasty cakes with some turkey bacon and a persimmon-rosemary bellini, and you’ve got a Thanksgiving brunch!

 
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