Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Curried Turkey Pita

Curry powder is a mainstay in my chicken salad recipe.  Why not extend it to some of that turkey left over from Thursday?

Curried Turkey Pita
Makes 2 sandwiches.

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded cooked turkey
1/2 cup halved grapes
2 sliced celery stalks
1 sliced scallion
2 pita bread halves

Stir the mayo, curry powder, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl.  Add the next 4 ingredients and stir to combine.  Spoon into pita halves to serve.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey Carcass Stock

Did you use all your turkey stock on this big day for gravy and stuffing?  Now what to do when it's time to make the turkey-noodle soup....

Never fear.  See that turkey carcass there in the fridge?  Let's put it to good use.

Turkey Carcass Stock
Makes about 4 quarts.

Break the turkey carcass into 4 pieces and place in a large stockpot.  Cover with water.  Add fresh herbs (thyme, parsley, sage) and a couple of carrots and stalks of celery.  Let it simmer for about an hour. Probably won't need seasoning, but add salt and pepper if needed.

Strain and get that soup started....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Last-Minute Turkey Day Tips

It's upon us.  The hordes will descend on Thursday.  (OK...that sounds more ominous than the situation really is, but you get my drift.)

You've probably got the dressing, turkey and pies all covered.  But do you have a handle on the pre-feast nibbles?  Before you object, yes, you need them.  Someone is going to show up early and you need to have something to keep them out of the kitchen.  Plus what happens if dinner is not ready at exactly the appointed time.

Here are a few simple appetizers that you can throw together to stave off the hungry masses...
  • Grocery list: Round of brie and a bottle of cranberry chutney.  Warm the brie in the oven at 325° for 10-15 minutes.  Place the brie on a serving plate, pour the chutney over the brie, sprinkle some walnuts or pecans around, and serve with crackers.
  • Pick up a tub of your favorite pre-made hummus.  Serve with carrot, red bell pepper and celery crudite.
  • Love this one.  Pick up a carton of butternut squash soup at the grocery.  (I like Pacific Natural Foods brand.)  Puree in a blender until smooth.  Place in a sauce pan and gussy it up (yes, that's a technical term) with a pinch of cayenne, a dash of lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt.  Warm until heated through.  Place three tablespoons or so in shot glasses or demitasse cups. Yum. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Make-Ahead Turkey Stock

You're going to want to have plenty of stock on hand next week.  And while acceptable, why use canned stuff in preparing one of the most visible meals of the year.  Fly your foodie flag high and make your own.  It's simple and you'll have good stuff to make gravy, moisten your dressing, and make the turkey soup or turkey and dumplings that you'll us to utilize those leftovers next weekend.)

Make-Ahead Turkey Stock
Makes 2 quarts.

5 pounds turkey wings (easy to find at your grocery store these days)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 onions, unpeeled and quartered
2 heads garlic, halved horizontally
3 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 pound mushrooms, halved (optional, but adds a nice umami richness)
4 sprigs thyme
5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
6 leaves sage

Preheat oven to 450°.

In a large roasting pan, combine turkey wings, onion and garlic.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Spread in an even layer and roast for one hour, until meat and vegetables are very brown.

Transfer to a large pot.  Add carrots, celery, mushrooms and herbs.  Add water to cover (2-3 quarts).  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours, skimming foam off of top of pot occasionally. 

Strain into another pot and boil until reduced to 2 quarts, about 30 minutes longer.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Cranberry-Pepper Jelly

Make this wonderul spicy/sweet/tangy condiment now so that you'll have it next week for your turkey sandwiches.  And you might as well buy a extra bag or two of cranberries so that you can make more of it in December to give as Christmas gifts.  And to have to spread on cream cheese-laden crackers at your holiday party.  And...well, you get the idea.

Cranberry-Pepper Jelly
Makes about 2 cups.
Adapted from Bon Appetit. 

2 finely chopped red bell peppers
1 finely chopped Anaheim chile
1 finely chopped jalapeño chile, seeded (or not if you want the extra spice)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pouch liquid pectin
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 bag fresh cranberries

Combine first six ingredients (through salt) in a heavy pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring often to dissolve sugar.

Stir in pectin and lemon juice.  Reduce heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Stir in cranberries and continue to simmer until cranberries burst nad juices thicken, about 10 minutes longer.

Transfer to jar(s), let cool and cover.  The jelly will keep up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Pecan Cheesecake Pie

I love "love child" recipes.  You know what I mean...what happens when sicky buns and pumpkin bread get together?  These.  Or the fabulous results when cornbread and butternut squash souffle hook up.

Well, here's another.  Pecan pie is always my contribution to the family gathering.  No more.  I'll be bringing this instead.

And I'm guessing there won't be any complaints.

Pecan Cheesecake Pie
Makes 8 servings.
From Southern Living.

1 refrigerated pie crust
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs, divided
3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
1 cup light corn syrup

Fit pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate according to package directions. Fold edges under, and crimp.

Beat cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture into pie crust; sprinkle evenly with chopped pecans.

Whisk together corn syrup and remaining 3 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla; pour mixture over pecans. Place pie on a baking sheet.

Bake at 350° on lowest oven rack 50 to 55 minutes or until pie is set. Cool on a wire rack 1 hour or until completely cool. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 2 days.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Cornbread, Chorizo and Jalapeno Dressing

Yes, I love my cornbread dressing redolent with sage and black pepper and studded with celery and onion like any other red-blooded American.  But who says that you only have to have ONE dressing at the Turkey Day feast?  This one has a great Southwestern flair.  And it would be great any time of the year alongside roast chicken or pork.

Cornbread, Chorizo and Jalapeno Dressing
Makes 12 servings.
From Cooking Light.

For the cornbread:

1 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
Cooking spray

To make the cornbread:
Preheat oven to 350°. Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in oven as it preheats.

Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (through eggs) in a large bowl; fold in cheese.
Remove skillet from oven. Coat pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into hot skillet. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. Crumble corn bread into a large bowl.

For the dressing:
1 jalapeño pepper, halved
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 ounces Mexican chorizo, casing removed and crumbled
1 1/4 cups diced red bell pepper (1 large)
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed French bread baguette (crusts removed)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 (14.5-ounce) can fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
To prepare dressing:
Remove seeds and membrane from half of jalapeño. Coarsely chop both jalapeño halves. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chorizo; sauté 2 minutes. Add jalapeño, bell pepper, and onions; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chorizo mixture to cornbread mixture; stir in baguette, cilantro, egg whites, and broth, stirring until bread is moist.

Spoon cornbread mixture into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Chard with Parmesan and Pine Nuts

Got a big bunch of beautiful organic chard in our produce share this weekend. Looked around for some recipes and found one that inspired this dish.  Dee-lish.  And could work with spinach also I am betting.

Chard with Parmesan and Pine Nuts
Makes 3-4 servings.

1 large bunch chard (about one pound)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
Kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Separate the chard leaves from the stems.  Rip leaves into 3 inch pieces and slice the stems into 1/2 inch pieces.  Rinse the leaves thoroughly and dry in a kitchen towel.

In a wok  or large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until lightly browned, stirring constantly, about two minutes.  Remove to a plate, saving as much oil in the pan as possible.

Reheat the oil and add the chard stems and a pinch of salt.  Cook until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the chard leaves and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the butter.  Toss until butter is melted.

Serve chard and sprinkle each serving with Parmesan and pine nuts.  Add a grind of black pepper and enjoy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Pork with Mustard Applesauce Sauce

Taking a break from Turkey Day prep and posting a recipe that we loved last night for dinner.  the Other Half loves applesauce with pork and I tend towards mustard.  So, in the spirit of Election Day bipartisanship, what happens when you merge the two?  This yummy, yummy dinner....

Pork with Mustard Applesauce Sauce
Makes 4 servings.

1 pound pork tenderloin or pork chops
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons Dijon or Creole mustard
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pork.  Come know how to do it.  Sear the tenderloin on all sides with a little olive oil in a sauté pan and finish in a 400° oven.  Or sear chops on each side for a few minutes until done. Set aside and keep warm  Got it?  OK...moving on.

Using the same pan you cooked the pork in, deglaze it with the applesauce, scraping the bottom to pick up all the delicious brown bits.  Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the mustard and whisk to combine.  Add the chicken stock and thyme and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon over pork and serve.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Jellied Cranberry Sauce with Zinfandel

I am not fond of the canned jellied cranberry sauce that is often served at too many homes with the can creases still visible.  But I must admit I like the flavor and even the texture.  So I was glad to run across this recipe.  Better yet, it includes wine.

(And, by the way, think creatively.  No reason to relegate it to just a turkey sidenote.  It's a great sauce for pork.  And you'll thank me when you have a dab on a blue cheese-topped cracker.)

Jellied Cranberry Sauce with Zinfandel
Makes 3 1/2 cups. (Although the recipe is easily halved if you're not serving an army.)

1 bags fresh cranberries
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup red Zinfandel wine
1/2 cup cranberry juice cocktail
1/2 cup orange juice
(I will confess I didn't have cranberry juice cocktail when testing this recipe, replaced it with more red wine and orange juice and it was quite tasty.)
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (optional)
Minced zest of one orange (I would consider this ingredient optional as well.)

Boil cranberries, sugar, Zinfandel, juices, rosemary and zest in a saucepan over medium-high heat for 7 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Press mixture through a colander, then through a fine mesh sieve.  (Or through a food mill with the medium blade, then the fine blade.)

Transfer the sauce to the mold(s) of your choice and chill until set.  (Hint: Give yourself enough time.  Mine (in small molds took a couple of days to gel up properly.)

Friday, November 02, 2012

Poached Trout with Onions and Fennel Seeds

The holidays are coming.  And it's likely that you're going to add few pounds.  No, you won't go overboard, but cornbread dressing, pumpkin pie, egg nog and tamales are things that no one should deny themselves completely.  So take the next couple weeks to make really smart decisions and get yourself to fighting weight.  Here's a recipe that fits the bill nicely.

I've been eyeing the cleaned whole trout at our local warehouse store for a while now.  But knew the other half wouldn't eat them, so what would I do with five at a time?  Mealsaver to the rescue.  Vacuum packed them all individually and threw them in the freezer.  All I have to do is take one out a day before I am ready to cook it, and voila...I'm set.  Used just that process to get one ready last week for this delicious, healthy dish.

Poached Trout with Onions and Fennel Seeds
From Saveur magazine.
Makes 2-4 servings.

5 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 large yellow onion, cut crosswise into ½″-thick slices, separated into rings
1 large red onion, cut crosswise into ½"-thick slices, separated into rings
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced crosswise
1 2-pound whole trout, cleaned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups white wine
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. fennel seeds
5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

Heat oven to 350°. Place thyme, bay leaves, onions, and carrot in a 9" × 13" baking dish. Season inside of trout with salt and pepper, and place over onions; season with salt and pepper and set aside. Bring wine, oil, and fennel seeds to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over high heat; pour over trout and onions. Scatter parsley over top, and bake until trout is just cooked through and vegetables are soft, about 40 minutes.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Countdown to Thanksgiving

Well, here we's November.  And you've probably already been thinking about the impending Turkey Day holiday that's already only three weeks away.  You probably have your time-honored traditions; we all do.  But I also think this is a great time of the year to take inspiration from others, tinker with traditional recipes, and come up with new ideas that will become traditions of their own.

For the last several years, I've posted recipes leading up to Thanksgiving to make things easier.  As well as follow-up tips for ways to use those leftovers.  You can find past posts by going up to that little search box on the upper left and typing in "Thanksgiving."

And stick with me this year...there's even more to come.