Pumpkin Curry

Pumpkin Curry

I don’t usually like to admit when a meal is inspired by what I feed my dog, but, here we go: This week’s recipe is brought to you by leftover canned pumpkin, which my husband and I put in our puppy’s food bowl as a treat for Thanksgiving. (Too much?) Since then, I have made this perfectly spiced curry countless times.

I’ve written about curry, the Indian dish that refers to a specific combination of spices and is usually served in sauce form over rice and other things as a quick way to get something flavorful on the table. I usually start with curry powder and coconut milk, and the rest of the additions vary here and there. Pumpkin may be my favorite of all.

Cheesy Ham Sandwich with Apricot Mustard

Cheesy Ham Sandwich with Apricot Mustard

It is the week between Christmas and New Year’s, a nebulous time during which no one really knows what day it is or who they even are anymore after all those Christmas cookies. Baked goods are still allowed for breakfast, stretchy clothes a must right now.

And it is time to turn our Christmas leftovers into the most comforting, cheesy meal we can.

My family pitched in to cook a big ham dinner on Christmas Eve this year, but there was more than half of the roast leftover. I had some leftover bread from French toast on the counter, too, and a jar of apricot jam just waiting to be opened and slathered atop this ham.

I am making this for dinner tonight for me and my husband, with a healthy helping of kettle chips and a mandarin orange for nutritional purposes. Diet starts Monday, right?

Sage and Rosemary simple syrups

Sage and Rosemary simple syrups

Every so often, I invent or read about or discover a food thing that I then become obsessed with. This week, friends, that thing is simple syrup.

Simple syrup is a fancy term for sugar water, and it’s typically used to flavor cocktails or other drinks like soda and coffee.

My simple syrup kick started around Thanksgiving, when I had a bunch of sage in my fridge that needed to get used up. I decided to steep it in a standard simple syrup mixture, which is typically 1 part water to 1 part sugar.

Sweet Paprika and Tomato Stew

Sweet Paprika and Tomato Stew

This week, I’m sharing another dish from my German heritage: goulash.

Goulash originated in Hungary, but it’s a popular dish in my ancestral homeland, too, and elsewhere throughout Europe. I’m sure they valued its hearty, warm qualities on cold nights.

And I do, too.

Goulash is basically beef stew, flavored predominantly with a certain spice: paprika. It is also tomato-based, and loaded with vegetables.