Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Nov 20, 2012

A Lush Thanksgiving

For the first time in years, I won't be flying home to be with my family for Thanksgiving.  I'm sad to be missing this traditional meal with them and getting the Christmas tree a couple days later, but I'll still be having a delicious dinner and sharing it with people I care about here in SoCal.  I'm sure many of you have already planned out your Thanksgiving menu in it's entirety, and I typically do as well, but this year, the holiday snuck up on me.  Work kept me busy, but I also knew I would only be in charge of one dish and a cocktail, so I didn't need to plan too far in advance.  For those of you still looking for ideas, I bring you a very Lush Thanksgiving, with old family favorites and new recipes.

Preparing such a big meal usually involves getting up pretty early, but you can't make it through the whole day without eating!  Make this Pumpkin Spice Pull-Apart Bread with Rum Glaze a day or two before so you can pop in the oven and serve for breakfast with some fruit on Thanksgiving morning.  

This Roasted Acorn Squash with Amaretto has been on our family Thanksgiving table for about five years now and I don't see it ever leaving.  I mean, there are cookies...and amaretto involved.  It's insanely easy to make and a crowd-pleaser.  There's also barely any squash left by the time we're done with dinner.  

Everyone knows how the Lush Chef loves her bourbon, so why not slather it on your fruits and vegetables?  Go nuts at the farmers' market and gather up some fancy heirloom carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, fennel, apples, persimmons and oranges for a colorful and sweet side dish.    Be creative with your combinations in this recipe for Bourbon, Molasses & Orange-Glazed Fall Fruits & Veggies

If that turkey is still baking and you're just plopped in front of the TV waiting for everything to come together, then shake up this Bourbon, Pear & Ginger Cocktail.  It's one of my new favorites for the fall and is so refreshing.

The only member of my family that loves pumpkin pie is my brother.  The rest of us aren't the biggest fans, so our go-to pie for years has been a Honey Crunch Pecan Pie with Bourbon.  It's insanely rich, but oh-so-good, and is best served hot with a dollop of whipped cream on top.  It's the only time of year I have this pie and I look forward to it each and every time.  And yes, my mom uses Jim Beam in the recipe from a bottle that has probably been above our fridge for a decade now.

Because it's a special holiday, my mom likes to go a bit overboard and bake two pies.  Well, why not?  And if you're having a large group over for dinner, one pie is not going to cut it.  My mom's Dutch Apple Pie is truly my favorite pie ever.  I can't have anyone else's apple pie because it never stacks up to my mom's, and that brown sugar streusel topping is to die for.  I recently started making it Lush Chef style by adding a little brandy.

And if you are a Pumpkin Pie fan, then I highly recommend the recipe from SoHo House in West Hollywood (there's some brandy in it as well).  The filling has a beautiful creamy texture that reminds me more of a pudding than a purée.  You can use your favorite homemade crust or a store-bought one.  And if you prefer your pumpkin pie in drink form, then try this Pumpkin Pie Martini instead!

What better way to celebrate our nation than with this American Trilogy cocktail?  It's a fall twist on the Old Fashioned and is one of my go-to cocktails during this time of year.  It's the perfect after-dinner drink, and the simplicity of it means you won't be playing bartender all night for your friends and family.