I started doing an "end of the year post" and then I stopped before I reached the end. When I started reading my archives for the year 2011 gone by, it became clear to me that it would be impossible to make it short and sweet. It’s been an incredible year. Truly. I had a blast.
Growth, work, joy, friendships, losses and pain. I don’t do resolutions, I set goals. And when I look back on the year gone by, it’s exceeded some of my deepest inner desires.
I traveled every month. I met new people every month. I wrote a book. I photographed amazing cookbooks and worked with some pretty darn awesome clients both editorial and commercial. I formed long lasting friendships. I’ve learned every time I taught a photo workshop. I laughed. I hurt. I loved.
Thank you for being part of the journey that was 2011!
Happy New Year 2012 to you!
May it bring you everything you desire and work for. May it fulfill you and your loved ones.
I hope you all had a fantastic holiday weekend. We kept it low key having dinner with a good friend on Christmas Eve and with family on Sunday. Yesterday was spent with friends again over a light lunch and a relaxing afternoon.
Thank you everyone for the sweet and kind words of condolences about my grandfather’s passing. It made this weekend a little easier to navigate. Oh there were tears, trust me…but they were immediately followed with a feeling of peace. My heart was full of all the goodness one can give and receive in a lifetime. Thank you again for your patience and care.
Let me play Santa a little bit longer and announce the winners of the Christmas giveaway. I asked my dear and only to give me three numbers at random among all the valid entries. Yes, he’s my random number generator.
The two winners of Plate To Pixel are Jenny Mendes and Adrienne from A Big Mouthful.
The winner of Girl Hunter is Wen from Journal Through Lens. Congrats! Please send me your snail mail addresses at mytartelette AT gmail DOT com.
Now on to the recipes…
Every year at Christmas, smoked salmon has to be part of the appetizer offerings at my parents'. It’s tradition. Salmon, blinis and foie gras with brioche toasts. Since we started last week without any firm plans for Christmas Eve, I was making my own plans to prepare a nice dinner for two and relax on the back deck watching all the docks decorated with Christmas lights. A sight to be seen…for sure.
On the menu was a Salmon Bisque, followed by crab cakes and finished off with a Pistachio and Pear Gratin. As the soup was simmering, my inbox started buzzing and within minutes our plans had changed for the 24th. Not a problem. From the scents wafting through the kitchen, we would not be disappointed to have it for lunch the next day. The soup was a cinch to put together, light and tasty. Everything one can ask for during busy times and especially in between a few copious meals.
The gratin was a unexpected hit with Bill and one I will repeat soon and with other fruits too. I had a surplus of tiny cute Forelle pears from a couple of projects and was trying to find other ways than tarts and tartlets to use them. Nothing wrong with those…trust me. I am the first one to slow down for a slice of pear tart!
This dessert is the perfect results of many kitchen happenings all coming together at once. Too many pears, red currants finally being available now that the temperatures had dropped, a pound cake made on a whim one night I could not find sleep and there you have it. A light, fragrant, cozy and comforting vanilla custard blanketing thin slices of cake with tart little pops of red currants every other bites.
From the look of immense delight at the dinner table the other day, I can safely say these two recipes were a huge hit. Making another batch of soup today!
Salmon Bisque, adapted from Saveurs France:
Serves 4 to 6
Notes: do not worry about how fine a dice, cube or chop, the ingredients are since they are all going to be pureed. Croutons are somewhat of a tradition in my family with soups and I simply toss some cubed day-old bread with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and toast that over the stove. Crème fraiche is a perfect topping for the soup but sour cream is a fine substitute.
Salmon can be expensive, so I usually ask my fish guy at the store to give me the good scraps they cut off when filleting whole fish. They are most happy to find a taker and usually give me half price on those.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, white parts only, well cleaned and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, sliced
2 small red potatoes, peeled and diced
½ cup dry white wine
3 cups vegetable stock
1 pound skinless salmon fillets, cubed
salt and pepper to taste
croutons, crème fraiche and chives to garnish
In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium. Add the leeks, garlic, carrots and potatoes and sautee for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the white wine, stock and salmon. Season with a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool and puree until smooth (see notes). Check the seasoning and serve. Top each bowl with some croutons, crème fraiche and chives if desired.
Earlier this year, the nice folks at Blendtec gifted me with one of their mixers and this is what I now use all the time to puree and blend soups. Takes less than a minute for super smooth bisques and soups. A immersion blender or any good capacity and sharp bladed food processor will also do great here.
Pistachio and Pear Gratins, adapted from Saveurs France.
Notes: I love my friend Jeanne’s recipe for pound cake. I had the pleasure this summer to work with my friend Clare on Jeanne’s gluten free baking cookbook and had to make about 75% of the recipes for photography. I got to tell you, Jeanne is about the only person I now trust for gluten free baking anything. Everything is always tasty, correct and of great texture. The recipe she came up with years ago for her gluten free all purpose flour blend is super easy and substitute cup for cup with regular all purpose flour so feel free to go gluten free or not without fear.
Once the pound cake is made and cooled (feel free to prepare it a day in advance), the assembly comes together in no time.
6 small Forelle pears (or 2-3 medium pears)
12 thin slices of Jeanne’s pound cake (minus the glaze)
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup sugar
½ cup red currants or other berries
2 tablespoons finely ground pistachios
Butter a 9×13 gratin dish or individual ones and preheat the oven to 350F. Position a rack in the center.
Peel, core and thinly slice the pears. Set aside (don’t worry about oxidization too much since the dessert assembly is fast but you can always sprinkle them with a bit of lemon juice if you wish).
Cut the pound cake slices in triangles. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, vanilla, eggs and sugar until smooth.
Layer the pear and pound cake slices in your gratin dish(es). Slowly pour the custard batter on top. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with some red currants and ground pistachios scattered over the top.
I was this close to posting a new recipe when I started getting a flurry of email about Christmas cookies (baking time, shelf life, etc…). It made me realize that if I did not start on my own Christmas baking soon, no one in the family would get their present.
For the past ten years, we have bagged the idea of buying presents for Bill’s family and we give each (friends too) a big box filled with homemade cookies, truffles, confections. (Click on this link to see a sample look). Depending on the recipient we also include a couple of movie tickets, a coffee shop card, a babysitting pass, a gas card or two…you get the idea.
Yes, this is our actual mantel deco every year…
I personally don’t mind doing all that baking, sends me back to my days as a pastry chef getting ready for the holidays. I also like that on Christmas Eve, it’s Bill and I boxing it all up, labeling everything and of course…sampling the broken pieces.
Here are all the goodies going in the gift boxes this year, recipes gleaned from my archives and from all around the blogs I read and enjoy.
Rene Fauconnier. My grandfather. August 19th 1910 – December 18th 2011.
My grandfather was larger than life. At least within our family. His voice, his demeanor, his character commended respect but also love and trust.
He lived 101 years. He was married to my grandmother for 71 years. When she passed away six years ago, his heart shattered in a million pieces.
During WWII, he was taken prisoner by the Germans and put on a train heading to a POW camp. As an officer among other brave officers, he was part of a group who decided to undo the bolt and lock on their wagon and jump. In enemy territory. During 12 days, they walked and crawled back to France. All the while my grandmother was raising the children they would create every time he was on leave…
His sense of duty and dedication are some of the traits he passed on to his children, grandchildren and great great children. He had a way to make sure of it.
Every year, he would fill photo albums with all the events he’d captured through the lens. He would include a five to ten page account of everything that happened to anyone in the family. If we ever had a dispute as to whom attended what, we’d call him or go get that album.
My grandfather on his horse in Morocco during WWII.
My grandfather had a really round belly. Like Santa. Except he had very skinny legs. I always thought he would make a really good Santa, at least from the belly.
I loved the way he laughed.
I loved the way I trusted him. I loved how safe he made me feel.
I loved the way he loved my husband "L’americain" and tried to scramble the three words of English he had learned during the war.
I also loved the way he would stop, frustrated by their lack of ability to communicate and he would exclaim "J’suis trop vieux moi maintenant! C’est a Bill d’apprendre le francais" (I’m too old now! Bill should learn French!)
He loved good food, good wine and good conversations.
At his 100th birthday party, with my brother Arnaud.
I will always remember the way he had to answer the phone "Oui, j’ecoute!" (yes, I’m listening!) … no matter who was on the other end.
He had a knack for telling stories. He loved hearing a good one too.
He was generous in all aspects possible.
He was always reading up something in his encyclopedias.
I always had the feeling he knew how we, grandkids, broke and glued back together a couple of lamps playing hide and seek at Christmas.
He was one of a kind.
Thank you for allowing me this one minute of silence. Forgive me for the lack of posts this week.
Every where I look right now, it seems that everyone is hands and elbows deep in Christmas baking, truffle rolling and cookie decorating. I wish I could say the same for our household. Every year, I bake, cook and mix Christmas gifts for friends and family. A dozen boxes packed with homemade goodies to eat (cookies, chocolate, cakes) and to drink (extracts, infused liqueurs, etc…). This year, well…I am feeling already behind.
By this time in December, I usually have lists of who is getting what, which cookies need to be made and refrigerated, which ingredients need to be marinated and so on. This year? I have zip. So far… No wait! We did put our Christmas tree up yesterday and decorated the house a little. I love how a few twinkling lights and ornaments can instantly brighten one’s day.
On the baking front, however…Not even a couple of cookie doughs parked in the freezer. No egg whites aging for macarons. Only the infused booze is getting better as days go by since I have nothing to do it…I have motivation. I am just oscillating between being overwhelmed with choices and underwhelmed by my decisions. ugh…
Work has kept me deliciously busy and I am not complaining. I have had the opportunity in the last few weeks and days to shoot for some pretty darn motivated and inspired people. The workshop this past weekend was such a great way to round up all the workshops held so far this year. I was thrilled it was in my town, in a space I really want to support the best I can and with some pretty awesome attendees. You can read more about it on Lauren’s blog, Still + Life.
I guess it doesn’t help that my lack of baking is greatly due to the fact that I’m booked on shoots way passed Christmas. I also know that it might me because my mind has been preoccupied with family issues back home. My parents had to cancel their trip to Charleston for the holidays. They need to be home right now and they need every bit of moral support.
We call and email everyday and are forced to revisit memories and stories. It’s bittersweet but it’s also very heart warming on the eve of a lot of celebrating and gathering. It’s our way of keeping together across the miles. Of course, the conversations turn to food at some point or another. We go down memory lane with holiday meals and treats we shared throughout the years. Came one or fifty, there was always good food going around the table.
One scent that brings me home everytime, even so far away, is the spice mix used in the traditional "pain d’epices". A blend of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, star anise, black pepper, orange and lemon peel. You can find the mix already blended and ground in most good epiceries but it’s not that complicated to make yourself. There are as many ways to blend it as there are regions of France.
While the components are the same, the proportions may vary. What I love about this spice blend is that is lends itself to so many preparations, well beyond Christmas. A little dash in rice pudding. A sprinkle over fish and roasted vegetables. A little bit in a potato gratin…I could go on and on about the versatility of using these spices from sweet to savory.
This week it was waking up to the promise of a little pain d’epices for breakfast was the best therapy. The scent of childhood and story telling time spent listening to my grandfather’s stories for hours. The texture of velvety Christmas morning spent playing quietly in our room with the presents Santa had brought that night. All wrapped up within the smooth spiced sugar coating the pain d’epices.
Every morning it connected me to my loved ones a little. That scent evokes my family, the time spent together baking and getting goodie packages together. It reminded me that beyond what I was feeling or how busy I’d be until Christmas day, that there were good reasons to push through and get my baking lists pinned down and to get to it. One specifically: making people happy.
What are your favorite treats to give throughout the holiday season? Please, share a recipe if you have one!
Pain D’Epices:adapted from Saveurs France, December 2011.
Makes 12 mini cakes
For the spice mix:
equal parts in ounces or grams (I usually go by 30 grams of each & refrigerate)
dried lemon peel
dried orange peel
Place the cinnamon, cardamom seeds and the rest of the ingredients in a coffee grinder and process until finely ground.
For the cakes:
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 cup Jeanne’s gluten free all purpose flour mix or regular flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon spice mix for Pain d’epices
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, kept cold
1 large egg
equal parts sugar and equals spice mix stirred together well.
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle. Butter 12 mini bundt cake pans or other of your choice.
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, stir together the honey, dark brown sugar and milk until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and reserve.
In a food processor or with a pastry blender, combine the flour, baking powder, spice mix, and unsalted butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Whisk the egg into the cooled milk mixture and add it to the flour mix. Pulse a couple of times until the mixture is smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared molds and coo 20 to 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out free of crumbs. Let the cakes cool completely before rolling them in the sugar coating.
A few weeks ago, the lovely Camille from the very creative Camille Styles site asked me if I wanted to be part of her "12 Tastes of Christmas" series. I already knew the recipe I wanted to contribute, one of my favorite from last year, a Homemade Gravlax And Prawn Crackers Appetizer. I also took the opportunity that it was Thanksgiving when she asked to come up with a pretty and sweet theme for the table setting.
I must say, I have a strong aversion for yellows and oranges. It’s visceral. When Thanksgiving comes around, I always try to break out of the traditional yellow and orange center pieces. As far as I know, there is no rule that says you can’t do purple to celebrate. The table set I created this year to solve that issue not only takes care of the usual Thanksgiving colors but also works perfectly for a different kind of Christmas.
I went to one of my favorite sites for table setting inspiration, Sunday Suppers and got inspired by various ideas here and there. The table runner was a couple of long pieces of burlap topped by a single slab of wood (neighbor’s old fence). I gathered bottles of different sizes to play vases and added Fall-ish accents like nuts in their shells, Forelle pears and a few candles.
What I love is that it took literally no time and a small budget to put it all together and it was so much fun to do and look at throughout the day! The napkin rings slash place tags where made by printing tags on two different shades of blue and tie them up with some simple jute twine.
Anyway…I thought with all our posts about food, it might be nice to show the actual way we enjoy it during the holiday dinners. Hmm yes, I don’t pull out the wedding china at every Sunday gathering! I am already thinking of ways to do a variation on that table setting for Christmas. Stay tuned!
For more pictures of the table and the recipe for the Homemade Gravlax And Prawn Crackers Appetizer, please head over to Camille’s post, here.
My grandmother used to say "Sundays are good for apple tart". I have to agree, and add that any day is good for apple tart. But also, days begging for a warm embrace, a soft kiss and a little balm to the soul are greatly improved with a slice of my grandmother’s apple tart. Especially when shared with friends.
I believe our friends have heard my stories about my grandparents and family a million times over. That’s part being proud to be of their flesh and blood, part being away and nostalgic, part keeping connected across the miles with some basic traditions. Such as gathering with friends and listening to their stories as well.
This past week has been trying for my family back home, leaving me with the need to get in the kitchen and cook and bake comforting family recipes. The one that were never handwritten, passed down from mother to daughter. The ones that were shared among friends around a cup of tea. The ones prefaced with a simple phrase "well, that’s just one way of doing it…"
I often think of the recipes I was given by family members as the backbone for what I am doing today. I always think about who, among my family members, would enjoy a few gingerbread cookies, who would come share a little seafood pasta for lunch on a last minute notice? The stories associated with food or gatherings always fuel my own photoshoots as much as the actual dishes already do.
It can be a tough navigating act to keep balanced, energized and creative during the holiday seasons while navigating the million gazillion things we all have to do. Writing, crafting, keeping kids busy, baking goodies to share, etc… I find it helpful to balance nutritious, health boosting main courses with sweet little indulgences here and there.
Last week, a bowl of linguine with parsley lime marinated scallops and roasted beets followed by a slice of my grandmother’s apple tart was key to my own peace. A typical thin crumbly French crust, topped with a layer of vanilla bean applesauce then covered with thin slices of apples. Crispy and buttery smooth at the same time.
And if it’s having dessert first once in a blue moon or a little extra pasta on your plate…by all means, do.
Thin Apple Tart:
Note: my grandmother used to say that the only good thing about Golden Delicious apples was that they made great applesauce (apple compote). I tend to follow her thought and much prefer this way than fresh. The flesh and skin become so soft and buttery that you don’t have to peel them (but feel free to if you prefer, especially if using non organic apples or a different kind). My grandma’s applesauce is something of a family remedy with us…
Serves 6 to 8
Ingredients: For the crust:
2 tablespoons (20gr) slivered almonds
1/2 (60gr) cup powdered sugar, unsifted, divided
1/2 stick (57gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
pinch of salt
3/4 cup (90gr) Jeanne’s gluten free all-purpose flour mix
1 egg yolk
Place almonds and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, ground nuts and salt on medium speed until well-combined. Slowly add remaining powdered sugar and flour and mix well. Add the egg yolk and mix until incorporated. Shape dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
Place the dough in between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and roll it out to about 1/4-inch thick round.
Place in a 9-inch tart pan, trim the edges. Prick the dough with a fork and refrigerate 30 minutes up to 2 hours. (you can even freeze the dough in the tart pan at this point and let thaw in the fridge overnight when you are ready).
In the meantime, prepare the applesauce.
Apple Compote: (you can prepare it up to 2 days in advance)
1/2 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons sugar
6 medium Golden Delicious apples
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup (60 to 80ml) water
On a flat surface, cut the vanilla bean in half lenghtwise without cutting all the way through and scrape the seeds from the pods with a pairing knife. Place them in a large saucepan along with the sugar. Set aside.
Core and roughly chop the apples. Add them to the vanilla and sugar mixture along with the water. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Turn the heat down, cover and let the apples stew for about 1 hour. Check every 20 minutes to and add water to the mixture if the liquid evaporates faster than the apples can cook. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Scoop about 1 1/2 cups applesauce inside the prepared tart pan.
2 tablespoons (15gr) granulated sugar
zest of half a lemon
2-3 medium apples
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
In a small bowl, rub together the sugar and lemon zest so that the citrus natural oils can flavor the sugar.
Core and thinly slice the apples. Decoratively arrange the slices over the compote and sprinkle evenly with the sugar. Scatter the butter over the tart shell.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top appples are golden brown.
Linguine With Roasted Beets and Lemon Parsley Scallops:
juice and zest of one lime
1/4 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 to 6 sea scallops
4 mini beets or 2 medium/large (color of your choice)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 pound linguine (I went with gluten free but use the pasta of your choice)
In a glass or non reactive bowl, place the juice and zest from the lime, the parsley, garlic cloves and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Mix briefly with a spoon and add the scallops. Spoon some of the marinade over the scallops and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375F and position a rack in the middle.
Place the beets in a baking dish, add the teaspoon of oil, some salt and pepper and roast for about 20-25 minutes. Let cool, peel and cut in halves or quarters depending on the size.
When about ready to eat, place a large pot of water on the stove and cook the linguine until al dente according to package directions.
In the meantime, heat a large non stick pan over medium heat. Remove the scallops from the marinade (do not throw it away), cook the scallops about 2-3 minutes on each side.
In a large bowl, toss the pasta with a spoonful of the marinade, divide the pasta among 2 bowls, add the beets and scallops and serve.
Today is a sweet post of a different kind: some pictures of a recent engagement session I photographed for my friend Laura and her fiance, Alex. I know I have mentioned Laura a couple of times before. She’s generous. A talented photographer. A pastry instructor. My partner in crime in the kitchen this Thanksgiving. And in May she will be a Mrs. A Madame. A newlywed.
Planning this session, I fell in love with Laura’s idea, given her profession, to do a chocolate chip cookies baking session as one of the set ups. A few sheet pans and many dozens of cookies later, we headed downtown Charleston for more formal pictures.
I love photographing friends. I just observe their story unfold. Their body language is relaxed. I might move a shoulder or lower a hand but that’s it. That dance with the garden arch in the background? They started it on their own. I just moved myself to a better angle. I imagined them 50 years from now, still dancing together. Just as they are today.
Hope you guys enjoy this little weekend posting diversion…
I hope everyone celebrating Thanksgiving had a wonderful time doing so. We surely did. The whole week was actually pretty darn good. It was rich in connections and reflections. The time spent in the kitchen with Laura reminded me of the time spent at home preparing a holiday meal with my grandmother and mother. It was comforting and soothing in so many ways.
It was a lot of fun cooking a huge feast with another like minded person. It’s easy to talk food, pies, gratins, table settings, photography while chopping, boiling, cooking, peeling, etc… We made a lot of dishes. We wanted to try new recipes and still some beloved family ones. We certainly did not hold back but we had plenty to box up for our guests to take home. I have learned years ago that Thanksgiving leftovers are a must!
I will revisit a couple of the dishes for a later post but among the biggest hits were the Apple Cider Brined Turkey from Bon Appetit, Laura’s mashed potatoes with creme fraiche, a root & leek vegetable gratin and a fennel-brioche and sausage stuffing. And the greens beans! I must revisit those miso green beans soon and post the recipe!
When everyone gathered around the table and shared some of their stories, time, themselves, my heart just fogged over. I was thankful for being surrounded by so much love and friendship. Many times I had to pinch myself that the day went as beautifully as it did. And continued the day after when Laura and her fiance Alex requested that I shot their engagement pictures. We had so much fun…well into the evening with dinner and drinks.
The weekend was spent quietly putting china and linens away, shopping at our farmers market and loading up on lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Taking some time to sit in the park with Bill and share a crepe and a cup of coffee. It finally started to feel like the holiday season (except for the 80F weather). Those simple things are all I crave for. They fuel me and refuel me times and times again. Just as certain foods do.
After a few richer meal than usual, I like the simplicity of a few good salads or soups. Without being a full blown detox, it’s nice to dig my fork into a lighter fare. Lately, it’s been lots and lots of variation around quinoa salad and this one is the one I have made countless time in the past couple of weeks. It’s versatile enough to be a side dish or main course (with a poached egg on top…fabulous!). Kale and butternut squash are abundant this time of year but any seasonal vegetable would work.
I generally pass on desserts in favor of a good juicy apple or pear this time of year. I do however have the habit of making dessert for our Sunday suppers with friends and crisps and simple tarts are always high on the list during Fall and Winter. Having a spoonful of a little sweet something always makes me feel like I am ending the weekend well and ready for the week ahead.
The quinoa salad is one I intent to serve for lunch during the Food Photography Workshop I’ll be teaching in Charleston on December 10th. Yep, I enlisted Laura to assist and help prep some great foods for all the attendees. On a side note, there are 3 spots left for that workshop!
I am curious though….what do you like to cook or bake to give your body and self a little break this holiday season? Looking forward to being inspired with your answers! Thanks for sharing!
Apple Cardamom Crisp:
Makes 6 to 8 (depending on your ramekins)
For the fruit:
6 regular size apples (your choice) or about 12-15 lady apples
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons honey
juice and zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cardamom
Preheat the oven to 350F (convection or regular) and position a rack in the center. Prepare the fruit:
Peel, core and slice thin the apples. Place them in a large bowl with the cranberries, honey, lemon zest and juice, cornstarch and cardamom. Toss well and reserve.
Prepare the crisp topping:
In a medium bowl, combine with your fingertips or a pastry blender the flour, sugar and butter and form large clumps of dough. Refrigerate at least an hour or freeze overnight.
Assemble and bake:
Divide the apples evenly among 6 gratin dishes or ramekins. If the crisp dough was refrigerated, just break apart clumps of it over the fruit with your fingertips. If it was frozen, you can simply grate it on top with a large cheese grater.
Bake for 20-30 minutes. Let cool.
In a large pot, bring the quinoa and water to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered until all the water has been absorbed (about 20 minutes). Remove from the heat, fluff with a for and place in a large bowl to cool for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, heat one teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet, add the onion and cook until it turns translucid. Add the garlic, butternut squash and kale. Cover with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Remove the lid, check that the butternut squash is tender but not mushy or hard when you poke a piece with a knife. Add the thyme and continue cooking until the all the liquid creating by the cover has evaporated.
Let cool to room temperature. Gently fold the cooked quinoa and the cooked vegetables together along with the vinaigrette.
Serve room temperature or cold.