Category Archives: Recipes

What’s In A Holiday?

 

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I put this offer elsewhere and I want to extend it here. While I will begin posting holiday recipes soon, most of my focus is on Christmas – that’s the tradition I grew up in – I would love to share other’s holiday traditions.

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If you have recipes, photos and stories of your family’s holiday traditions, I want to read about them and share them. I Email me!

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Getting the Hang of It

20161201_1721271600x1200Getting the hang of sous vide steaks, anyway.  I found a pair of rib eyes in the same freezer bag so I thawed and then re-bagged them individually.  This time the steaks were seasoned with salt and pepper before sealing, and each bag got two pats of butter, too.20161201_1722441600x1200I reserved the cooking juices and added them to the pan along with more butter and a splash of white wine after searing the steaks off.  That deglazed the pan and reduced to a nice sauce.

Tidbits

20161129_1603561600x1200This is the first thing I’ve cooked from scratch since the big holiday meal.  There are just so many ways a fellow can present leftovers without drawing catcalls from the crowd so I’ve not been posting many food pics.  This is chicken in a honey/soy marinade.  20161129_1258181600x1200I vacuum sealed skinless chicken thighs and breast tenders in about of 1/4 cup of the marinade each, and then cooked them in a water bath just for fun.  I wanted to see if the marinade would better penetrate the chicken pieces in the vacuum bag than it would just by soaking in a bowl.20161129_1313311600x1200I cut the bags extra long to see if I could keep the marinade from sucking up into the sealing area of the bags.  It worked up to a point.  I think the marinade did better in the bags than just soaking, and an overnighter in the fridge would have been even better.

The marinade was honey, sweet soy sauce, light soy, black vinegar, and sesame oil.  It worked pretty well.20161129_1423391600x1200As an aside, I once had some old broccoli that seemed a bit limp so I soaked it in water for and hour or two and that firmed it right up.  I got into the habit of preparing my veggies early and soaking them in water just to help keep them fresh.img_20161129_150326_processedIt might look as if Gabe is gazing adoringly at his Dog Daddy here but he was just taking a second to gather himself for another lunge at my face, hoping to grab enough beard for a good tug.dsc_55701600x1200It rained all day long yesterday but right at sunset it cleared a bit and we had this full rainbow, too big to get it all in one frame.  That was nothing compared to the scene behind me:dsc_55721600x1200

You Can’t Have Too Much Gravy

20161126_1118261600x1200You’ll need it for all that dressing!20161125_1050341600x1200

Thanksgiving Files: Cranberry-Apple Sauce

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I love whole berry cranberry sauce and adding apple takes it up a notch. Always best prepped the day before so the flavors can meld. Yummy.

It couldn’t be simpler and fun to make (mostly because the cranberries pop as they cook).  Here’s a basic recipe to get you started:

Cranberry Sauce

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water or apple-cranberry juice (100% juice)
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar
  • 12 oz (1 bag) whole, raw cranberries
  • 1-2 apples, finely chopped.

saucepan

Wash cranberries. Bring juice and water to a boil, add sugar and stir until sugar dissolves, then add cranberries, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, no more.  Remove to a tempered glass dish or mold, cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.  What you’ll have is a nice thick cranberry sauce with whole cranberries.  You can add different things for a variety of sauces:  pecans, orange rind,  walnuts,  cinnamon, nutmeg, currants.



 

T-Day H-Hour

20161124_0958101600x1200Spatchcock turkey is 2 for 2 here at W4D today.  Herbed butter under the skin, and massaged all over the bird after dry brining and an overnight in the basement fridge air-drying.20161124_1110331600x1200Sweet potatoes in olive oil and honey and teeny potatoes in olive oil and kosher salt on their trays ready for the oven.20161124_1220171600x1200The turkey turned out very well, note the leg position, there will be a short quiz later.20161124_1220121600x1200Clockwise from the top right:  Cloverleaf dinner rolls, sauteed Brussels sprouts, gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, honey roasted sweet potatoes, those little potatoes with rosemary, cranberry relish, and a stick of butter on top.  The dressing is on the counter behind me.  Grr20161124_1227001600x1200I remembered the dressing so it wasn’t a turkey dinner without.  That quiz I mentioned: What is peculiar about the turkey legs in the before and after pictures?

The Big Day Is Here

Spatchcock Turkey finish

I get an extra day for prep, for which I am very Thankful. It’s been so busy I’d never have made it if I had to serve dinner today. We’ll be eating our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. So today, I have a full, relaxed day to cook, walk the dogs and put the finishing touches on the house.

I decided to use the spatchcock recipe this year. I’ll be cooking it on a bed of carrots, onions and celery.

BTW, my recommendation is to always get two smaller birds instead of one massive bird – you’ll have a much better outcome with shorter cooking times. Not to mention not having to worry about fitting a huge bird in the oven. You can do an oven bird, then grill, smoke or fry another.

For this recipe, a good set of poultry shears makes quick work of removing the backbone. I’ll prep the bird today, wrapped it up and refrigerated it.

Spatchcock Turkey Prep

Roasted Spatchcock Turkey

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 whole turkey (10-12 pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Rimmed baking sheet, rack

In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, crush together pepper, salt, sage and rosemary and add to brown sugar. Set aside.

With a sharp knife or scissors, remove the back bone of the turkey, flip over and press down on the breast bone to break and flatten. I wasn’t quite strong enough, so I turned the bird over, scored the bone, flipped it back and tried again, this time it broke easily. I then trimmed off the wing tips. See my notes below on what to do with the back and wing tips.

Place the bird flat, breast side up, on the rack in the baking sheet. Rub with spice mix and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Before cooking drizzle olive oil over turkey and roast for 1 hour or until the temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the oven, tent with foil and let rest for 30 minutes (during this time the bird temperature will reach 165 degrees and thighs should be 175 degrees).

Carve and serve.

NOTES: I took the back, wing tips, neck and giblets, covered them with water and simmered them for about an hour. I then used the broth for both the stuffing and gravy. I also cooked the stuffing in the oven, in a baking dish, uncovered, with the turkey. They finished up about the same time.

This year, I’ll skip the metal rack and instead will use a roasting pan and place the bird on a bed of carrots, celery and onion. With the shorter cooking time, the flavor could use the boost. I do feel this is a great technique for wood grilling or smoking.

Today I’ll also prep Cranberry/Apple Sauce (recipe to follow in a later post), make the Pumpkin Cream Pie (recipe here), prep the stuffing and put together two loaves of Slow-Rise Bread  (recipe here) to bake for sandwiches over the weekend. I’m also making Cucumber Salsa (recipe here) and Garden Salsa (recipe here) so I can use up the last of my tomato harvest and serve with chips as an appetizer. I’m also going to make the gravy ahead of time. So that leaves just roasting the turkey, making the potatoes, and green bean casserole for tomorrow. Makes for a very low stress holiday meal.

More Recipes: We have a bunch, a peck, a bushel, of Thanksgiving recipes, including my favorite Upside-Down Cranberry Cake (here), No Boil Mashed Potatoes (here), and Non-Traditional Sides (here), click on this link for all the other recipes or search by name or ingredient in the search box at the bottom of the blog.

I’ll update you on the cooking progress as I go today.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!  – TaMara

Spatchcock Turkey finish

 

Tidbits

20161120_1003181600x1200We are fast approaching Thanksgiving and we’ve had our second hard freeze.  The first time I carted the vulnerable jalapenos into the garage overnight but I didn’t this time.  I combed through the wilting foliage for the last harvest.  The cornbread cubes are drying in anticipation of making a dressing.  I baked a loaf of plain white bread earlier and dried them in a low oven.img_20161119_112743_processedHere’s another treatment of the picture of Bea among the habaneros, it’s done with the “mosaic” filter in the Prisma app.  It most effective when there are a lot of discrete elements within the photo like the leaves and peppers in this one.20161120_1635431600x1200Sammich pr0n!  This is a cod fillet that had been dredged one time in a commercial fish breading that I added some coarser cornmeal to.  I made a very busy tartar sauce of mayo, onions, chives, horseradish, jalapeno, lemon juice, salt and pepper – and topped that with slaw.20161118_1649221600x1200Here’s a chicken breast that was slow cooked in the toaster oven with my (current) favorite hot sides of fried potatoes and sauteed Brussels sprouts.20161119_1643391600x1200Just your basic cheeseburger – pickles, onions, mustard.img_20161119_112949_processedHere’s that mosaic filter again. The algorithm that draws in the tiles has trouble with the motion blurred background.  And that tongue!  LOL20161116_1225541600x1200I had the stub end of a loaf of Italian bread left over from making garlic bread to go with a small lasagna I made the other day.  The lasagna was pretty good but I served it right out of the oven and the layers slipped and slid all over the plate in the bechamel/tomato sauce.  Served it in a bowl, I could have called it soup.  Ha Ha I meant to do that!

Friday Recipe Exchange: Thanksgiving Files

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Is this thing on? I know it’s been forever – the house, work and puppies have taken most of my time. Cooking lately is mostly just for sustanance, nothing terribly creative. But Thanksgiving is almost here! Time to get cookin’.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, next to 4th of July. Food, family, friends…and leftovers. I’m going to have a house full this year and I’m excited to host. Although I wasn’t expecting to have a puppy thrown in the mix, but that just makes it more interesting. I have compiled some of my most requested holiday recipes for tonight’s exchange.

JefferyW makes Cornbread Stuffing, (pictured above) part 1 here and part 2 here.

Roasted Butternut Apple Soup makes a great starter, recipe here.

Hearty Garlic Mashed Potatoes, click here – my family loves these, though the first time I made them they mocked me until they were served because the cooking method is so unusual. I cook them early and keep them warm in a slow-cooker while everything else cooks and stove top space is at a premium.

Two Brussels Sprout dishes: Pan Roasted with Pancetta and Onions (recipe here) and JeffreyW’s Brussels Sprout and Potato Au Gratin (click here)

Yum. What do you mean I have to take a bunch of pictures before I can even try it?

There will be a variety of pies this year, but instead of the traditional Pumpkin Pie, I’m making Pumpkin Cream Pie (above), the recipe is here, plus there are additional pumpkin dessert ideas at the link.

For the main course, we’ve made turkeys a bunch of ways here, including a Spatchcock Turkey, recipe here. For something more traditional, here are some ideas from people smarter than I am: turkey four different ways, good stuff here.

What’s on the menu for your Thanksgiving this year? Do you have a must-have recipe for your holiday dinner?

I’m not a fan of traditional candied sweet potatoes, so tonight’s featured recipes are some non-traditional styles for sweet potatoes.

Cajun Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter,  melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ tsp cumin (opt)

Covered casserole dish, well-greased

Steamer and saucepan

In saucepan, add water, steamer and sweet potatoes. Steam until you can easily stick a fork in them. They don’t need to be completely soft. About 10-15 minutes. Add sweet potatoes to casserole dish. Combine oil, butter and spices. Pour evenly over potatoes. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes until potatoes are soft. You can adjust cooking time if you prefer your firmer or softer potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes w/Apples

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 apples, cored & sliced
  • 8 oz can sliced pineapple (including liquid)
  • 2 tsp butter
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

2 qt casserole dish, greased

Add ingredients to casserole dish. Stir gently and bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, uncovered, until apples and potatoes are very soft. Cover if it begins to brown too much

That’s it for this week. I hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.   – TaMara



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Tidbits

img_09931600x1200Here’s a photo from the archives.  I like the symmetry.20161112_1654231600x1200Kroger had a sale on strip steaks.  They needed some trimming but were still a pretty good value.  I did this sous vide, setting the water bath to 130 degrees for a couple of hours.  They finished in a smoking hot cast iron skillet in olive oil and butter, deglazed with white wine and chives for a simple pan sauce.20161115_1204201600x1200Sloppy joes for lunch the other day.  This one has American cheese and a few dill pickles.  The potato salad looks like it has the traditional dusting of paprika but it’s really Creole seasoning.  It adds a bit of a tang to it.20161111_163233-1600x1200BBQ chicken!  I’ve taken to cooking these leg quarters in the toaster oven using the slo-cook setting.  I did this on the high setting for two hours, no particular reason to choose that time – it’s the default for the high setting.  Set it to low and the default is four hours.20161116_0824161600x1200I snapped this one of Bitsy lounging atop the sofa, prompted by the play of sunlight through the slots of the vertical blinds.  It seemed like a candidate for the Prisma treatment:img_20161116_082932_processed

20161114_1131091600x1200Hot dogs!  I’m not sure how long these buns have been offered but I’m liking the slit on top rather than on the side.  These are Pepperidge Farms brand.20161115_1712191600x1200I’ll wrap up with some soup. This one uses the broccoli left over from that steak dinner, a bit of smoked pork, rice, and three kinds of cheese in chicken stock and milk.