What To Make With Leftover Stuffing: Stuffing Latkes with Salmon, Crème Fraîche & Capers

I closed Instagram. Instagram with its beauty and inspiration and mindless scrolling. Instead, I finally braced myself for the news- those stories I had been keeping safely at my periphery, understanding the gist but not digesting the magnitude. Oh the painful symbolism of oppressed natives while the rest of us feasted on plump turkeys and ate gluttonously on potatoes and cranberries and buttered rolls and enough pies to populate a corner bakery. I was complicit. I wanted to be cocooned in the warmth and comfort of my holiday, but I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling.

What To Make With Leftover Stuffing: Stuffing Latkes with Salmon, Crème Fraîche & Capers // www.WithTheGrains.com

Then I shared a meal with one of my friends who feels closer to me than most blood relatives, a friend who has more fight in her than many brave lifetimes combined. There was a tinge of cynicism to her, the final burn at the end of a long, oiled rope. She’d been fighting and fighting against so many of the same issues facing the “water protectors” at Standing Rock, except her fight was in our backyard, and no one listened. 

What To Make With Leftover Stuffing: Stuffing Latkes with Salmon, Crème Fraîche & Capers // www.WithTheGrains.com

On the surface, this corner of the web seems like just a space for food, for recipes, for entertaining, but my interest in food has always been more than the way ingredients come together. Food is a basic right. It’s a unifier, a language, a way to commune, to learn, to share, but water, water is even more. It’s fundamental, a life source. But they are all in jeopardy, suffering attacks from every angle, usually from those who will be the last to suffer the losses. 

What To Make With Leftover Stuffing: Stuffing Latkes with Salmon, Crème Fraîche & Capers // www.WithTheGrains.com

This plate is about leftovers. I wish the narrative it inspired was cheerier, was about continuing the warm, cozy cocoon of Thanksgiving, but the thing is, the threads of that cocoon are tenuous. This story is one of picking up the pieces, of salvaging the more admirable bits and not wasting them. We, who have so much, need not waste. We need not waste our food, our riches, our power, all for the ability to oppress. We must pick up smaller pieces and build more, create sustainability. 

What To Make With Leftover Stuffing: Stuffing Latkes with Salmon, Crème Fraîche & Capers // www.WithTheGrains.com

If I were the biblical sort, I’d reread of the symbols promised to signal the end times. If I were in a poetic mood, I might turn to Victorian fears of good versus evil because these days can feel so blindingly hopeless, and yet, I have to believe in some lingering optimism, that the remnants will create something completely new and promising. When we face restraints and limits, our true creativity and possibilities must rise.

Make stuffing into latkes. Then take a stand on not just the news-glorified protests, but take a stand on those issues that creep to the edges of your backyard. Admittedly, I’m still figuring out where to direct my attentions, but in the meantime, I’ll be donating to those who are braver than me, to those who stand up for me even without knowing my name.

Here’s to remnants becoming inspiration.

Quelcy Signature 


Stuffing Latkes with Salmon, Crème Fraîche & Capers

About this Recipe: Perfect for serving brunch after a big holiday gathering. Mix in leftover mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes for variations on the leftovers theme, using 1 egg for every 2 cups leftovers. 

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Rose Water Chocolate Chunk Layer Cake with Rose Water Frosting & Rose Macarons

I made this cake for two sweethearts, their love and youth as effortlessly balanced as her hand in his. Her champagne colored dress, a rare standout in the sea of white, sparkled and shined in contrast to his stately navy. They circled and swayed as the record player spun with just the right crackles and scratches. “Hold me close and hold me fast, the magic spell you cast. This is la vie en rose.”  

Rose Water Chocolate Chunk Layer Cake with Rose Water Frosting & Rose Macarons // www.WithTheGrains.com

The piano keys flickered with the candlelight, the brassy trumpet and raspy voice slowed time, and I felt purely at ease, for a moment, the high we makers chase was firmly in my grasp. Romance has that effect on me.   

Rose Water Chocolate Chunk Layer Cake with Rose Water Frosting & Rose Macarons // www.WithTheGrains.com

Inspired by young love, by their song, this is the Cake en Rose, or Le Gâteau en Rose, if you will. 

Rose Water Chocolate Chunk Layer Cake with Rose Water Frosting & Rose Macarons // www.WithTheGrains.com

“When you press me to your heart
I’m in a world apart
A world where roses bloom
And when you speak, angels sing from above
Everyday words seem to turn into love songs
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be la vie en rose.”

To all you hopeless romantics out there!

xoxo,

Quelcy Signature

p.s: Eventually, you’ll be able to see all the wedding details I created for Les and Brittni on my portfolio site, so stay tuned. 


Rose Water Chocolate Chunk Layer Cake with Rose Water Frosting & Rose Macarons

About this Recipe: Because I wanted a smaller layer cake, I baked a 9×13 pan and used a 5” biscuit cutter to create the round layers. Alternately, you could use 3 6×2-inch round springform pans. Split them in halves horizontally if you want even more layers. The cake layers are separated by thin spreads of red currant jam. Overall, the cake is light, floral, and fruity with bites of dark chocolate and a hint of fall flavors.  (more…)

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Whole Grain Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Banana Bread featuring Nocciolata

At the end of a long, dusty, country road, there was a house that could have inspired Andrew Wyeth’s painterly strokes. It belonged to Lawrence and Sedonia Wagner, hearty Czech folks who farmed and reared a full flock of kids, then spoiled their many grandkids with jokes, kolaches, firm hugs and kisses. They were my grandparents, and I unfortunately only knew them in bits and pieces, moments stolen from the year, typically in the summertime. Otherwise, I remained in Pennsylvania, while their lives continued in South Dakota. 

Whole Grain Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Banana Bread featuring Nocciolata // www.WithTheGrains.com

Since I was on the very young end of their offspring’s offspring, our generational gap only widened with the miles between us. Though we may not have always had a lot to discuss, my way to relate to my grandparents was through their home and through their table. I remember the warmth of the sun flickering through the farm trees, the occasional appearance of Maynard, the border collie who preferred his independent adventures, and the minuscule purrs of farm kittens. Their barn was red, as a barn should be, and the old farm house creaked with the many footsteps that had traced over its bones. I attribute my love of architecture to that house, my passion for nostalgia to that house, and my fondness for stories emerged from those walls. 

Whole Grain Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Banana Bread featuring Nocciolata // www.WithTheGrains.com

My grandparents were laid to rest not far from that old farmhouse, in a treeless part of town, where the graves contrast the bright green grass of a gently rolling hillside. I mourned their departures and celebrated their legacies, then, from miles and miles away, I mourned the loss of the farmhouse.  

Whole Grain Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Banana Bread featuring Nocciolata // www.WithTheGrains.com

The house was left to family members who took it for granted. They had seen the red barn beams day in and day out, and for them, the magic may never have existed. They didn’t know how miles and miles away, I bit back the rage and swallowed my sadness. How could they not preserve the walls where my grandparents’ spirits would surely return? How could they not appreciate the wallpaper Sedonia had adhered herself, surely while some homegrown feast simmered in the kitchen? How could they not know that the dusty road, the steep winding steps, the wooden shelves and toy chest were words from the language I spoke with my grandparents?

Whole Grain Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Banana Bread featuring Nocciolata // www.WithTheGrains.com

I have a cousin who knew those magical words, and for that, we share a connection that bridges the minimal time we have spent together. It’s no coincidence that we were both drawn to cameras, to documenting and preserving moments, to traveling far and wide to see even longer, dustier roads and flickers of light. She captured the red barn recently, and despite the distance, despite the masked degradation, I felt I was there, just as she was feeling Sedonia’s spirit.

Whole Grain Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Banana Bread featuring Nocciolata // www.WithTheGrains.com

It is no coincidence that my work is a constant pursuit to preserve what is good and true from those who came before us. It’s why I fell for a farmer/beekeeper who works to preserve the traditions encapsulated in seeds and combs. It’s why I see recipes as transcriptions of histories and mementos of times spent together. It’s why ingredients are so important. 

Whole Grain Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Banana Bread featuring Nocciolata // www.WithTheGrains.com

This Vegan Nocciolata Chocolate Hazelnut Spread is the key ingredient in this decadent banana bread, and it represents the history of another family, a history that has been better preserved than my own. It all began 90 years ago with two brothers, Mario and Paolo Rigoni. Devoted to the natural beauty of their birthplace, Mario and Paolo started producing honey from the fragrant flowers found in the pristine meadows of Asiago, Italy (I’m ready to visit, just say the word!). Building on the success of their honey, they expanded their production to fruit spreads and jams, but they always chose to stick to natural ingredients. Their values passed from generation to generation, and Nocciolata is Rigoni’s “newest” product, born from another old family recipe and made from 100% organic goodness.

AND, if you live in Pittsburgh, like me, this chocolate goodness is now available in Whole Foods (but soon to be on Amazon for all you non-PGH’ers), which means, I’ll probably see you in the jam section real soon. 

Here’s to preserving family traditions!

Quelcy Signature

p.s: This post is sponsored by Rigoni di Asiago, but all opinions and Niccolata-covered spoons are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support With The Grains, but more importantly, thanks for supporting the brands that prioritize the environment. You can follow them on social media (F / I / P / T) for more organic product updates and even more recipe ideas (though simply licking the spoon is always a good option). 


Whole Grain Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Banana Bread
featuring Nocciolata Dairy Free

Yield: 2 loaves

About This Recipe: This bread was inspired by the new Nocciolata Dairy Free (though I did use dairy in the bread, you could make some substitutions for a fully vegan option). I can stand behind this ingredient because it’s certified organic, GMO-free, free of hydrogenated fats, made with quality cocoa and environmentally responsible cold-pressed sunflower oil, so you’re about to feel really good about appeasing your sweet tooth! 

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Whole Grain Apple Sage Spice Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Lately, I’ve taken to the road, to long winding roads flanked by fall’s most brilliant palettes. Driving in this golden, seasonal light has offered complete freedom for my mind to wander, the miles multiplying in my head space, a simple luxury often sacrificed to to-do lists and frenzies. On the road, there is little choice but to sink into my head and lose myself to the landscape. I can sing at the top of my lungs or think about where I am, what I want and where I’m going. Aside from the occasional minivan sprouting roots in the passing lane, these drives have been peaceful ways to enjoy the season… at least until night falls. 

Whole Grain Apple Sage Cake with Caramel Buttercream // www.WithTheGrains.com

When the darkness descends, my mind plays tricks on me. Every sound in my car feels catastrophic, as if my trusty Vibe will suddenly spit me onto the side of the road, leaving me vulnerable to the night (my imagination is a wild wild one). The other drivers on the road feel like threats, and I mistrust my own spacial awareness. It can feel impossible to see beyond the bend, to understand the twists and turns of the road (and in Pennsylvania, boy do those roads twist and turn!). The only thing to do is trust in the dashed lines, to focus, one after the other, and to move forward with caution and purpose. 

Whole Grain Apple Sage Cake with Caramel Buttercream // www.WithTheGrains.com

This period in history feels a lot like the transition from day driving to night driving. There was a glimmer of hope, of unity, of progress, of a destination many thought they’d never live to see.  Minds ran wild with possibilities (even if many of the original possibilities had been shattered). Then the darkness hit. Fear crept in. The future felt (and feels) utterly uncertain, but we have to remember the white lines- one after the other. There are still beacons to seek. There are still high beams to shine into the darkest of nights. 

Whole Grain Apple Sage Cake with Caramel Buttercream // www.WithTheGrains.com

I wish I had felt more passionately about the election, more trusting of a candidate. I felt passionate about a symbol- a female who had brushed off the most insulting, ignorant comments to achieve the ultimate power role. I felt passionate about the possibilities a female could pave, but I wish I had felt like independent thought, versus pep rally excitement, mattered, like America could be represented on a gradient instead of black versus white, us versus them. It’s a flawed system, but those flaws feel all the more raw in the current state of mourning. 

Whole Grain Apple Sage Cake with Caramel Buttercream // www.WithTheGrains.com

But there are white lines to guide us through this darkness, and maybe the silver lining is we must ALL participate now. We cannot kick up our heels and rest on her laurels. One of the first white lines I focused on was an email from my Design*Sponge editor, urging us to push for a broader spectrum of stories, to showcase all walks of life, to celebrate those who work hard on our behalf, the activists whose battle cries we all too often ignore until we feel the effects all too deeply. I’m proud to be a part of a group who has begun to seek action, to shine the high beams and to continue to navigate toward the destination we originally envisioned so clearly, but I’m also turning inward. How will I take a bigger, broader stand?   

Whole Grain Apple Sage Cake with Caramel Buttercream // www.WithTheGrains.com

In this grief stage, returning to normal passions is hard to navigate, but now more than ever, there’s a need to stand for our beliefs, our passions, the things we hold true. I believe in protecting this planet, in the seeds that carry hundreds of years of history, of acres of apple trees and fresh-picked herbs. I believe in sharing food, in passing plates and conversing. I believe in beauty and empathy, but at this point more than ever, I believe we need to push into uncomfortable places, into the seemingly unnavigable. 

Whole Grain Apple Sage Cake with Caramel Buttercream // www.WithTheGrains.com

I recently stood in a room full of women, women who had surely rallied and cried, and yet, we didn’t make moves to talk to each other, to fully connect in person. We hid in our phones, in our social media accounts, then looked to other women to tell us how to connect (women who truly did inspire, don’t get me wrong). I’m guilty, but I’m also hungry, hungry for us to share, to converse, to exchange views and truly try to understand the “other.” We need each other, to help find that next white line that will lead us through the dark twists and turns of the road. In the meantime, here’s a dose of beauty, inspiration for something to share, and a brief moment of sweetness in spite of all that is bitter.

Quelcy Signature

Apple Sage Spice Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream

About This Recipe: Loaded with spices, apples and sage, this layer cake is a true celebration of fall, accented with homemade spiked caramel. If the apple garnish is too intimidating, serve cake slices with warm apples on the side.  (more…)

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Whole Grain Apple Butter Parmesan Biscuits with Honey Sage Syrup

I felt as though I had found fall. 

Whole Grain Apple Butter Parmesan Biscuits with Honey Sage Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

There she was! Peeking through the tall, green trees, her flames blazed against the bright, blue sky. I was far away from the city (as evidenced by the changes in political fervor), where the trees were still clinging to their youthful summer glow. My little red car, packed to the brim with Nordic sweaters, enamel plates and a menu fit for a cabin weekend, zipped along the winding roads to a shoot location. Yet at that moment, I inched along the road, leaning into my steering wheel and staring as high into my windshield as I could. There was fall! 

Whole Grain Apple Butter Parmesan Biscuits with Honey Sage Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

My “day job(s)” have taken me farther and wider this season, to that cabin in the woods, to a magical old building with chipping paint, where I tossed a scavenged collection of branches and leaves, to the beach with a rosé dipped sunset. Each time, I tried to slow down enough to enjoy at least one little moment, in which I removed my head from the time checks and just inhaled the landscape, the season and the little journeys. It’s not easy, especially when the darkness begins to cloak the creaky trees, sending my imagination wildly into scenes from Stranger Things, but I tried then too.

Whole Grain Apple Butter Parmesan Biscuits with Honey Sage Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

It’s a time of year when we turn to spices, and pumpkins, and lattes that pretend to include both, in order to be in this season, to savor it slowly in the first hints of crisp fall air, but arguably, we should turn to honey. 

Whole Grain Apple Butter Parmesan Biscuits with Honey Sage Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

Those mystifying, inspiring honey bees, who we as a society have taken for granted enough to push them to the verge of endangerment, are masters in capturing the essence of the season. From the same plot of land, their routines yield honeys so incomprehensibly different. This fall’s honey, is thicker, the sweetness intensifying as it rolls across the tongue ever so slowly, as if to say, savor the lingering golden light, the warmth and the bold colors. 

Whole Grain Apple Butter Parmesan Biscuits with Honey Sage Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

No matter the season, nothing puts me quite in the moment like the combination of sweet and savory, so these Honey Sage drenched Biscuits are just that- sweet, savory odes to fall.

Whole Grain Apple Butter Parmesan Biscuits with Honey Sage Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

If you’re feeling particularly neighborly or generous, make extra Honey Sage Syrup and give the gift of fall to someone dear. When the biscuits are but mere crumbs, add the syrup to your evening bourbon drink with a fresh sage leaf garnish and really sink into the early sunset. 

Quelcy Signature

Whole Grain Apple Butter Parmesan Biscuits
Yield: ~ 12 biscuits

About this Recipe: Sweet enough to eat with breakfast or tea, savory enough to pair with roasted root vegetables and meats or warm butternut squash soups.

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