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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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Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin

20161105_1638041600x1200I bought a pork tenderloin at  the store today, it seemed pretty big – I thought it was two packed into the same bag like they do.  Nope!  I decided to do the sous vide thing because tenderloins are so easy to overcook doing them the regular way.  I set my circulator to 150 degrees and left it in for 3-1/2 hours.  No marinade, just salt and pepper, and I enclosed a sprig each of thyme and rosemary.20161105_1757501600x1200It came out with just a bare hint of pink.  I’m pretty old school and a bare hint is about all I can tolerate despite assurances that 145 degrees is the new, safe, temperature for pork.  The Serious Eats guy has a pretty good take on sous vide pork here.  They have a pretty good color chart, 150 degrees is considered medium well done.  I made a simple pan sauce by reducing some of the liquids that collected in the bag and adding a pat of butter.  It didn’t really need anything, juicy as it was.20161105_1738151600x1200I can’t get enough of these fried potatoes.  I par boiled them for five minutes then cooled them in running water.  Dry them on a towel and fry them in duck fat if you can  get some, you will not be disappointed.

Sous Vide Chicken

20161018_1656171600x1200Well, I have the gear so here I go with some chicken.  I generally like the recipes and methods developed by the folks over at Serious Eats so I let them guide my go at it.  I did leg quarters but I figured the technique would be the same.20161018_1607111600x1200The table says 1-4 hours at 165 degrees yields tender chicken, this batch went about 3-1/2 hours.  I think my next batch will spend much longer, 6-8 hours.  The chicken was done, certainly, but not “pull the leg bone right on out” done I hoped for.  I reduced the gelatin and juices from the chilled bag with white wine with good results.20161018_1656451600x1200I have to give a shout out to those potatoes, I par boiled them for a couple of minutes then finished them (after they cooled and were drained on a towel) in duck fat.  I added some chopped fresh rosemary to them for an added kick.

The sprouts and carrots were zapped for about three minutes, covered, in the microwave and then sauteed in oil with a balsamic glaze added at the end.

Roasted Mojo Chicken

20161016_1629581600x1200I still had mojo marinade on my mind today – I mixed up a small batch to marinate a couple of leg quarters.  Today’s was orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, fresh pressed garlic, oregano, ground cumin, olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.  I let the chicken marinate for about three hours then placed it in an 8×8 baking pan covered with foil and put that into my toaster oven set at 325.  I left it for an hour, then baked it uncovered for another half hour with some of the marinade poured over it to reduce.

It was plated over a wild rice mix and served with blanched Brussels sprouts sauteed in duck fat.  Delicious!  The chicken was very lemony, but more than that, the cumin and oregano lent it earthy notes and the garlic went well with the rest.

OK, Here We Go – Sous Vide Steaks

20160928_1718471600x1200First impressions – it’s bigger than I was expecting!  Not quite as big around as a 12oz soda can, but close.  It’s 15 inches long.  It is simple to set up, just clamp it onto the side of a suitable pot, plug it in, and scroll the wheel to set the desired temperature.20160928_1330001600x1200The cord isn’t very long, so you’ll need to place it fairly close the outlet.  (That cord trailing off the counter goes to something else.)  Here I have a pair of rib steaks inside generic zip-lock bags.  I’m not sure how much heat they can take but they handled the 129 degrees the device was set to.  That’s right on the dividing line between rare and medium rare per the table here.  I started with hot tap water so it didn’t take much time to come to heat.  They spent nearly 3 hours in the water bath.  I wanted to give them ample time, they say several hours more wouldn’t have made any difference.20160928_1626041600x1200Everything went well enough until it came time to sear the steak to finish it.  I didn’t pat them dry with paper towels, and didn’t get the skillet hot enough.  Lesson learned!  20160928_1627021600x1200Still, I can’t say that I wasted two steaks.  They were pretty good, although maybe too fatty.

Chicken Wings Piccata

DSC_1899 (1600x1060)Lemon goes well with chicken.  The recipe is an easy one, I adapted it for wings.  Because I’m lazy, I roasted the potatoes and the sprouts in the same tray.  The potatoes are done, albeit without much crust.  They could have done with another few minutes but the sprouts needed to come out so I called them good enough.

Chicken Pr0n

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Brussels Sprout Salad

DSC_0238 (1600x1060)I found this recipe while looking for salad ideas and decided to give it a try.  It’s pretty good, not change your life good but it is a nice change of pace.  My mandoline doesn’t like the little fiddly jobs so I used a knife but it went pretty well, I didn’t do a whole lot of them.  I added a packet of Splenda to mine, and a splash of rice vinegar because I thought it needed just a tad more tart.DSC_0239 (1600x1060)The meat of the menu was this pork tenderloin all pounded thin and breaded.  I ate mine with a little chili sauce.  The plate was rounded off with more of that loaded potato salad.  I made a different batch with red potatoes this time but otherwise about the same.  I did drop a glob of yogurt in with the sour cream and mayo for the dressing.DSC_0240 (1600x1060)

Pasta Pr0n – Penne with Prosciutto and Sliced Sprouts

DSC_0047 (1600x1060)This was very good and really easy to put together.  I saw an off hand comment someone made about having lemon butter pasta with Brussels sprouts the other day and a search turned up a NY Times recipe that looked good.  I went with bacon and prosciutto for this one, and an entire head of garlic.  A couple of tablespoons of butter went into it at the end along with a splash of good olive oil and the juice of half a lemon.DSC_0045 (1600x1060)I followed the “pinch of red pepper flakes” option instead of the pretty red chilies in the recipe photo because I didn’t have any.  Mrs J got one of the pepper flakes on the tip of her tongue after enjoying half of her plate and quit eating, declaring the bottom half to be too hot.  I have to admit, my pepper flakes from the cayennes I dried from last summer’s crop are actually hot, unlike the ones they sell at the Kroger spice aisle.

Baked Lemon Chicken

DSC_9757 (1600x1060)This worked out nicely.  I saw this recipe the other day after a search prompted by one of the foodie shows on TV.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the one I saw put together on the show but it looked really good.  I made some minor changes but nothing radical.DSC_9747 (1600x1060)Dredge the chicken in seasoned flour and brown the pieces in oil.  Set them aside and wipe the pan out, add more oil and cook some sliced onions down, then add sliced lemons, sliced garlic, chicken broth, and a little lemon juice with a few sprigs of rosemary and let it come to a simmer.DSC_9746 (1600x1060)Spoon the veggies into a baking pan and lay the chicken over the top, then pour the liquids over everything and place the tray into a preheated 400 degree oven.  Baste every 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes in my oven.  I turned the chicken over for the last 15 minutes and then back again before I took this shot.DSC_9752 (1600x1060)We had pearled couscous and Brussels sprouts to go with the chicken.  The sprouts were sauteed in bacon fat with balsamic vinegar and more lemon juice.  Pretty decent dinner.DSC_9755 (1600x1060)