Hokkaido Pumpkin + Sage Mac and Gouda

The days are starting to fly by a little too quickly. We're up way up here in Copenhagen and currently contemplating extending our trip. If it wasn't for my intense desire to see Vienna, I think it'd be a no brainer. But it's been almost a month since we've seen our hotdog and I think it's time to go home. While the bulk of our trip has been spent seeking out exciting restaurants and sites, we did have a little downtime in our insanely cute airbnb in Amsterdam. We hoofed it over to the farmers market to pick out ingredients in the rain, ate deep-dish apple pie with a giant dollop of whipped cream, and then went back to spend the day in reading, lounging, and cooking. Two things about this. Firstly, checking out the farmers market in a new city is always so exciting, because you never really know what you'll find. I was looking for pumpkin and so excited to see that all the pumpkin vendors all had adorable little hokkaido pumpkins for sale. Secondly, goodness did I miss cooking and a properly home-cooked cozy kind of meal. Anyway, somehow the day quickly turned to night and we spent the night in with a big 'ole pot of mac and gouda and a bunch of Amsterdam IPAs for Moses.

This is a no-recipe kind of recipe, in that I can give you approximate cooking times and temp, as well as an ingredient list and some tips and tricks but really encourage you to do you when you make this. It's a non-traditional pumpkin and sage mac and gouda because I didn't make a roux or do anything like that. The homemade pumpkin puree pretty much does all the work thickening up and stabilizing the sauce, so all you've really got to do is add some crème fraîche and loads of gouda at the end to make it really good-a. ;) It's a super comforting and cozy dish (and gosh, I'm in the mood for it right now). It must be fall because this is the second pumpkin recipe I'm sharing in less than a week and it's part of the giant virtual pumpkin party that Sarah, aka Cake Over Steak, and Aimee, aka Twigg Studios, are throwing. You can head to either of their blogs for all the other pumpkiny recipes everyone's sharing today!!


Serves 4-6 people


  • 4 hokkaido pumpkins (squash)
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • 2 small round onions or 1 medium round onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 15-20 sage leaves
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted European butter
  • 5 – 6 oz. crème fraîche
  • 12- 16 oz. fusilli pasta (or something similar) + 1 c. of pasta water
  • 2 c. shredded gouda
  • Salt + pepper, to taste


  • Sharp knife
  • Baking sheets
  • Heavy bottomed pot
  • Immersion blender
  • Box grater
  • Wooden spoon



  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Peel and dice two of the pumpkins, being sure to remove stems and scoop out all the seeds, and toss with a couple glugs of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, a pinch or two of both should be great, and place in a baking dish or sheet pan with raised edges. For the remaining two pumpkins, split in half, cutting from top to bottom, and remove the stem and scoop out all the seeds. Drizzle insides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and place face down on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the diced pumpkin is just fork tender and the halves are very fork tender.
  2. Meanwhile, place the butter in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat till it starts to simmer, then add the sage and cook until the sage is very fragrant and crisp. Remove the sage and set on a plate lined with paper towel and add the onions to the pan. Cook until nearly translucent then add garlic and reduce heat to low, cooking for a couple of minutes.
  3. Right before the pumpkin is done, cook the pasta until al dente, according to directions on package. Reserve one cup of cooking water before straining out all the water.
  4. Once the pumpkin halves are cooked, carefully scoop out all the flesh into the pot with the onions and garlic. Cook for a minute or two on medium then add the crème fraîche and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Stir in the shredded gouda and add pasta water as needed to reach desired consistency. Add in pasta and gently toss.
  6. Serve with diced pumpkin and crispy sage leaves. Enjoy!

Note: This is a no-recipe kind of recipe, so use this more as a guide than the absolute truth when it come to measurements and time.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Kringle

It's been a while and I apologize for the radio silence. We've (Moses and I) been on the road for about two weeks now making our way through the UK and EU!! Before we left, I felt super ambitious and thought I'd be blogging along the way, sharing recipes and stories from the weeks leading up to our trip, while pulling together fun posts and recaps of the cities we're exploring. But real talk, our days have been so full that at the end of the day, I'm exhausted and I pretty much just pass out dreaming about the next day, instead of hopping on the interwebs to share. And gahhhh, I've got so much to share that I'm practically bursting at the seams. So, please forgive me now, because for the next few weeks I'll be bombarding you with recipes and stories and a ton of photos. Cool? And before I jump into our most recent travels, I've got this sweet little, ok giant, pumpkin cream cheese kringle to share. It's actually inspired by the almond kringle that I had up in Solvang with Lily and Molly, but made with some extra fall-feels aka pumpkin!! 

I made this pretzel shaped wonder when I was back in Maui visiting my parents, my grandma, my best friend Kammy, my godson Hanalei, and the newest love of my life, Olena Joy. One of the hardest things about living in LA is that there's a big old ocean separating me from some of my favorite people in the world. Sure, technology is great and I've made some really great use of Facetime as of late, but I'm starting to feel like teleportation needs to be a real thing. Can someone please hurry up with that? How else am I supposed to bake kringles in LA and share them with my godson in Hawaii? 

The best part about this kringle is that it's meant to be shared. After all, it's a beast and practically fills the whole sheet pan, so sharing seems to be the best call here. Slice it up into wedges and invite a bunch of friends over or take it to your next work meeting. It's epic with a cup of tea, and believe it or not, it's just as good, if not better, the next day. Somehow the pumpkin and the cream cheese seem to meld together after about a day. All I know is that, it only lasted 24 hours before it was all eaten up and I feel like that's a good sign.

And while I hate to go, I've got to head out and get my steak dinner and a show on. I'm not sure if you're on Instagram, but if you are, be sure to give me a follow (@alanakysar) if you want to tag along. We're currently in Berlin, land of currywurst and pilsner, and on Saturday, we hit our last stop, Copenhagen!!


Adapted from My Danish Kitchen

Makes 1 kringler



  • 1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. water, heated to 100 to 110°F
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature, divided
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 oz. unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, room temperature
  • 2 ½ c. + 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour


  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice


  • Chopped raw pecans


  • 1 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. milk



  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Dough whisk
  • Stand mixer
  • Whisk
  • Parchment paper or silpat lined baking sheet
  • Tea towel or plastic wrap



  1. Combine water 1 tablespoon of sugar and yeast in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes to activate the yeast. After 10 minutes, add the remaining sugar with 2 eggs, salt, butter, and flour and whisk together with a dough whisk until dough comes together. This can also be done with a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add remaining sugar, eggs, a pinch of salt, butter and flour. Using your hands, mix all ingredients until dough comes together. The dough will be slightly sticky/tacky, but the butter should be thoroughly combined. Transfer to a clean, oiled bowl, and cover with a clean, dry tea towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled.
  2. Sprinkle a large, clean work surface with flour and turn out dough. Knead for a minute or two until the dough is no longer sticky and is soft and elastic. Form dough into a log and roll out to approximately 24-inches by 6-inches long. Spread the pumpkin cream cheese filling in the middle third of the long log then fold the inner third of the log over filling followed by the outer third. Now form into a pretzel by bringing the right end toward the middle-left and tucking under that area and repeating with the left end, bringing toward the middle-right instead. Carefully transfer the pretzel shaped kringler to a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and sprinkle with raw chopped pecans if desired. Cover with a clean, dry tea towel or oiled plastic wrap for 30 minutes and preheat oven to 425°F.
  3. Beat one egg with 1 teaspoon of water and brush on to the top of the dough. Sprinkle with pecans, if desired. Bake for about 15 minutes, checking at about 10 minutes for doneness. If the nuts or dough begin to brown too quickly, cover loosely with a piece of foil. Cool on baking sheet.
  4. When cool, generously drizzle with icing. Serve and enjoy!


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment combine all ingredients and beat on medium speed until smooth.


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth.

Dark Chocolate Marzipan Scone Loaf

Holy crap. Tonight we are leaving for a big European adventure!! Our bags are mostly packed but the good news is that I've got all our plane snacks in order, as well as my cozy socks, Bose headphones (the ones that cancel out all the noise), and I got a new fancy Apple iPhone case that charges while protecting, so I feel pretty ready. I've also got converters, reading materials, tons of photos to edit, and some no-jet-lag tablets (thanks for the rec Lil). Hopefully I haven't forgotten something major, but if I have, Moses has reminded me five bajillion times that we can pick whatever it is up when we land! 

So where are we going? London! Paris! Amsterdam! Berlin! Copenhagen! We'll be gone for nearly a month and I'm already 95% sure I'll need a second suitcase by the time we're ready to head back to the states (shhh don't tell Moses). To everyone who has shot over recs via text, email, fb, insta, etc., you are awesome and we are so so grateful. I've got a big ol' Google doc with a tab for every city, packed with tons of rows and columns of all your suggested gems. We've already mapped out most of our days, but of course, if you've got any more musts, please share!! We'll be sharing everything via Instagram and Instagram stories, and I'll be posting city recaps/guides here later!! 

In the spirit of our upcoming (like coming up later today) journey, we've been enjoying these insanely delicious and super travel-friendly scones (many slices def made it into the snack bag). Of course we've been making big pots of tea and chatting in our best (bad, really bad) English accents while scoffing down slices because it makes everything 100 percent better. This scone loaf is bananas, aka amazing, aka genius, and I'm so freakin' excited to share it with you guys cause it's from Molly on the Range!! 

Molly = one of my favorite ppl on the planet. She is the queen of sprinkles, and she also just wrote one of the best cookbooks I've ever seen/owned/loved!! Every recipe in it is the perfect combination of inventive, quirky, cool, and yummy sounding (<--that's a good way to describe a recipe, right?) and the book is so perfectly Molly. It's gorgeous, like so pretty that you want to lick the pages. And the stories are so good that I felt like Molly was right here in my kitchen, telling me about her first date with eggboy and all about her days at Julliard (it's a cookbook you'll actually read). I'm already looking forward to coming back from our trip and making/baking all the things!! I've already made her All of the Alliums Fried Rice a gajillion times and am so obsessed with it, and implicitly trust her when it comes to anything food related. Molly on the Range is out tomorrow and it's pretty much the coolest thing since hagelslag on toast!! And tomorrow we'll also be in LONDON!!! 


From Molly on The Range

Makes 1 8 x 4-inch loaf


  • 7 or 9 oz. marzipan, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar*
  • 3/4 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 c. sprinkles, optional**
  • Jam, for serving


  • 8 x 4-inch loaf pan lined with parchment paper
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Food processor
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing 1-inch wings to hang over the edges on the long sides.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the marzipan and powdered sugar to coat. Add the chocolate chips and set aside.
  3. In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and pulse to combine. Add the butter cubes and pulse until the butter is in the size of peas. Add this to the bowl with the marzipan. 
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk or cream, and the extracts and add to the dry ingredients. If you're adding sprinkles, add them in now. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir until just combined. 
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar and bake until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking for doneness at 40 minutes.
  6. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using the parchment wings, remove to the rack to cool completely. Slice with a serrated knife and serve with jam.

Notes: *I sprinkled mine with turbinado sugar instead of granulated for extra crunch. **I added sprinkles for the full Molly experience.

Miso Edamame Hummus w/ Baked Furikake Sweet Potato Chips

How do new moms get any work done? I'm currently in Maui and am 100 percent in love with my best friend Kammy's newest addition, Olena Joy. She's got to be the prettiest little babe in all the lands, with the longest eyelashes, biggest eyes, and softest skin. How am I supposed to do anything but swoon? She is a doll, a perfect little doll, and I'm so in love! And now I'm so sidetracked thinking of her cute little nose and sweet smile that I nearly forgot what I was doing. Goodness. 

After traveling to Vermont for Cheese Camp, more on that soon, I promise, a couple loads of laundry, and another plane ride, I found myself back in Maui las week. And the minute I touched down, a mean little cold found me, so we (the cold and I) spent a day or two in bed with a box full of tissues. And after many doses of Wellness Formula, I was finally well enough to do something other than eat my mom's portuguese bean soup and blow my nose. Don't get me wrong, I'm not really complaining, as there are worse places to fight a cold. And let's be honest, you're never too old to appreciate your mom taking care of you (thanks mom), but I had a little angel to meet!

Which brings me to this recipe. It's inspired by the lovely, and insanely kindhearted Lindsey aka Dolly and Oatmeal, who is about to become a mama to a beautiful baby boy! If you don't know Lindsey, let me tell you that she is a total inspiration, a giant sweetheart, her photos make me drool, and she is the absolute master of gluten-free and dairy free. I channelled my inner Lindsey when I dreamt up this recipe (see her spicy hummus oven fries) and I'm currently sending it along with all my love and well wishes to the mama-to-be! Huge hugs and all my love, sweet lady! Already can't wait for the world to meet your new little love!



Sweet Potato Chips barely adapted from Minimalist Baker

Serves 2-4, depending on serving size



  • 1 1/2 c. cooked shelled edamame
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sweet white miso
  • 1/4 c. tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 - 4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt, add more if desired
  • 1/4 - 1/2 c. olive oil, plus more to garnish
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish


  • 2 organic sweet potatoes, throroughly cleaned
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. nori komi furikake


  • Food processor or blender
  • Mandolin
  • Baking sheets



  1. Place edamame, miso, tahini, garlic in a blender or food processor jar and blend until smooth. Add the lemon juice and salt and blend until very smooth. Stream in the oil until you reach desired consistency.
  2. Transfer to a serving dish and chill for at least one hour. Garnish with olive oil and toasted sesame seeds when ready to serve.


  1. Preheat the oven to 250° F and move oven racks to the center.
  2. Using a mandolin or sharp knife thinly slice sweet potatoes (make sure they're the same thickness if you're using a knife). Spread slices out between two baking sheets and drizzle each sheet with 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, tossing slices to evenly coat. Sprinkle slices with salt then lay out in a single layer on the sheets, making sure none of the slices are touching. 
  3. Bake for 1 hour then flip slices over and bake for another hour.
  4. Chips should be golden and crisp. If they aren't, bake for an additional 10 minutes or so. Immediately sprinkle 1 tablespoon of nori komi furikake on each sheet, tossing chips to evenly coat, then let rest on sheet for 10 minutes. 
  5. Serve with hummus and enjoy!

For a list of all the other gluten-free and dairy-free goodness happening today in Lindsey + Baby's honor, head over to A Couple Cooks or Cake Over Steak! #welcomenewlittlelove

Three Days in the Santa Ynez Valley

The thing about California is that it's big. Like really big. And Los Angeles is a beast of a city, which I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of two years into living in it. That's why I pretty much backflip-jumped at the chance to head out to the Santa Ynez Valley with Lily and Molly for a few days. Situated a few hours away, tucked about a 10 minute or so drive inland, the Santa Ynez Valley is home to six little towns that all offer their own bit of magic.

We spent our first night at an adorable little hotel, The Landsby, in the tiny town of Solvang. If you accidentally drove into Solvang, it's possible that you might think you took a wrong turn into a fantastic tiny Danish Disneyland. Which would totally make sense, as I've been told that it was actually modeled after Disneyland and funny enough I've heard that Disneyland was modeled after Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. So basically if you're a fan of anything Danish, including but not limited to: almond kringles, marzipan everythings, æbelskiverssoft pretzels, architecture, interior design, and clogs, this might be the town for you. It definitely made me want to get in touch with my 1/8 Danish roots!

A quick 20-minute drive from Solvang is the itty, bitty town of Ballard. Ballard is home to Global Gardens aka olive oil heaven and The Ballard Inn and Restaurant. Trust me when I tell you that Chef Budi Kazali has created a menu that's worth a trip up or down to Ballard. While the restaurant only serves dinner, Molly, Lily, and I were treated to a lunchtime tasting menu with wine pairings that was one for the books. After lunch at the inn, we drove another 20 minutes or so over to Los Olivos, where grapevines grow in abundance, and tons of great wines are produced. Here we tasted our way through Beckmen Vineyards and Sunstone Winery & Villa. Beckmen Vineyards is rad because it's biodynamic and they make a killer Chardonnay that's reminiscent of Chablis, aka one of my fave white wines of all time. And Sunstone Winery, well, if Solvang transported us to Denmark, Sunstone took us to Tuscany. It's insanely picturesque and they offer a wine + brownie tasting and that should be all I need to tell you right there. ;) 

Our third day was spent back in Solvang, but not near the main streets. Instead, we were whisked away to Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort's gorgeous 10,000 acres of land. If you've ever had dreams of summer camp, this is the place to come to make all your fancy adult summer camp dreams come true. The minute we arrived, I felt like we were all starring in our own version of Dirty Dancing, minus the dirty dancing and sans Johnny Castle. But, there was something about being on a gorgeous ranch-style resort, with limited cell service, tons of activities like breakfast horseback riding (our horses were named Goose, Blackjack, and Jesse, I die!!), archery lessons (we didn't do this but it was a very tempting option), massages (did and loved this), and dinner dress codes, that triggered the image of Baby at Kellermans. The folks at Alisal helped us create such wonderful memories, from the morning biscuits cooked over hot coals by a cowboy, to the lux lunch boxes complete with lox and bagels and chocolate chip cookies at lunch, my summer camp dreams came true tenfold. 

Group shot, photo of the horseback riding and Photo of me sipping wine courtesy of Kale & Caramel!

Group shot, photo of the horseback riding and Photo of me sipping wine courtesy of Kale & Caramel!

Before we left, we squeezed in a dinner at Pico in Los Alamos, as we were told it was not to be missed. Again, it was about 20 minutes away from Solvang, and again, adorably tiny and in this case, the main street was about a city block long. The food at Pico was fun, fresh, and exciting: think giant ricotta gnudi, tomatoes and hushpuppies, and tarragon ice cream. It was the perfect way to end a long day and a quick girls trip!

A huge thanks to Visit Santa Ynez Valley for such a great adventure! While all accommodations were provided by Visit Santa Ynez ValleyAlisal Guest Ranch & Resort, and The Landsby, all opinions are my own. I cannot wait to come back and explore more of the towns we already saw and the ones we missed the first time around!