Chai Yogurt Cheesecake

The inspiration for this recipe came from a class I took at Culinaria that featured a pumpkin cheesecake with a pepparkakor crust. While I’m not a big fan of New York-style cheesecake custard or of pumpkin-flavored things, I loved the crust made from butter and pepparkakor crumbs. The warm spices used in the cookies (cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves) are also traditionally used in chai tea, so I wanted to try building a cheesecake around chai-infused cream.

Smoked Salmon Rillettes

I made this recipe as an hors d’œuvres dish for Thanksgiving when hosting my fish-loving family this year. The dish is only slightly altered from David Lebovitz’s original to use more lemon juice, scallions instead of chives, and kippered (or hot-smoked) salmon instead of fresh. These changes lead to more aggressive lemon, onion, and smoke notes in the final dish, and using kippered salmon (which can be kept in the fridge for days and then flaked directly into the rillettes) helped with Thanksgiving-day logistics, as I did not need to take over a burner to prepare any fresh salmon.


Few things evoke holiday nostalgia as strongly as the scent of fresh gingerbread baking in the oven. I’m not the biggest fan of soft gingerbread, but Swedish pepparkakor (“pepper cookies”) are thin, crispy, and fill your kitchen with the same warm spice aroma. This recipe uses no ginger but gets the same flavor profile from cardamom, a spice made from the seeds of several plants in the ginger family. I picked up this recipe at a holiday baking class at Culinaria, a small cooking school in Vienna, VA.