Happy Friday from snowy and COLD Colorado! Sending warm and cheery holiday season wishes to you!
This year’s Thanksgiving had been a bit turned on its head in our house. Some of our Thanksgiving family had a conflict so we decided to move the festivities to Friday so we could all be together. It has kind of thrown us for a loop in terms of planning and prep because we have a whole extra day! Nothing to complain about, I know but it does change the things you always do. The other big change for us is the menu…we didn’t want to just repeat Thanksgiving in all its glory, but have an upscale riff on leftovers. So, our planning has turned to making things a little differently and centering everything around sandwiches! How can you go wrong?? We have found that there are some traditional things that people can’t live without. So far, we have made dough for rolls and cookies, stuffing, cream puff shells, cranberry relish and chipotle cranberry sauce. Here is our menu (in progress as always):
Thanksgiving Menu 2013
Sweet Potato Croquettes
Roasted Turkey Sandwiches
Beef Tenderloin Sandwiches
Wild Turkey Casserole
Cranberry Chipotle Sauce
Sweet Potato Rolls
Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla Whipped Cream
Cream Puffs with Pumpkin Mousse and Chocolate No-Moo Mousse Filling
It will be a great way to spend the day after turkey day! Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours! Back with more recipes post-Thanksgiving.
PS—I think the patrons at Whole Foods today need a good reminder of the spirit of the season since it seems we need police presence in the parking lot and a near riot over a lack of whipping cream! I am still trying to kill it with kindness and a smile! Thank goodness for some friendly employees. J
Fall is in full swing here in Colorado and it has been making me search for ways to incorporate yummy fall flavors. When I came across this recipe I knew it was the perfect way to satisfy my cravings. It comes from SoNo Baking Company, my very favorite bakery of all time. If you like to bake, just buy the book, every recipe is just right. These are even better than I imagined, soft and moist with some texture from the veggies. The cranberries added bursts of tartness and beautiful color. I did make one change right off the bat and replaced half of the oil with natural applesauce. It worked out perfectly! The only thing I would add is some kind of nuts…maybe walnuts on top? Mmm Mmm Mmmmm.
Zucchini, Carrot and Cranberry Spice Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ t baking powder
¾ t coarse salt
¾ t ground cinnamon
½ t baking soda
1 cup sugar
½ cup canola oil
½ cup natural applesauce (bonus points if you make your own!)
¾ cup grated carrot (about 2 medium)
¾ cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium)
1 ½ t pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole fresh (or frozen, unthawed) cranberries
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a muffin pan or insert muffin cups. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, eggs, grated carrot and zucchini, and vanilla. I used a coarser grate to keep some of the color and texture of the vegetables, but you could use a fine grate to hide those healthy veggies. J
Add the dry ingredients and fold until the flour has been absorbed. Fold in the cranberries. Use a 2 inch ice cream scoop to divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups.
Bake, rotating the pan about two-thirds of the way through, about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and a tester comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool in the pan. Use a knife to gently lift the muffins and turn them on their sides in the pan. Enjoy!
Do you ever rediscover a former love of a recipe? Last weekend we decided to have a freezer cooking day with each of us picking something we wanted to make. I chose an old favorite from Lidia Bastianich. I am sure I have said before how much I love Lidia. Her recipes are unique and always wonderful. I think they always turn out (though I do tend to modify things as I go). This time we made this to be eaten later and miraculously it actually made it to the freezer! I am looking forward to enjoying it some night we have nothing in the house. It is full of flavor both robust and tangy. Served with veggies and bread or brown rice and you have a great fall meal!
Chicken and Sausage Bites in Vinegar Sauce
¼ c Olive Oil
1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage, cut into bite sized pieces
2 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
2 T Honey
2 T Butter
¼ c Red Wine Vinegar
½ c Aromatic White Wine
½ c Chicken Stock
Chopped Italian Parsley (for garnish)
In a large skillet heat 2 T olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until lightly brown on all sides. Pour off the fat if necessary. Add remaining 2 T of olive oil. Season the chicken pieces with salt and add to the pan. Cook until brown on all sides. When close to done, make a space to brown the garlic. Once golden and aromatic, stir into the chicken and sausage.
Drizzle the honey over the top and cook, stirring often until chicken is a rich mahogany color. Add the butter and stir until melted. Pour in the vinegar and bring to a boil. Boil until the vinegar has almost completely evaporated. Add the wine and bring to a boil, then add the chicken stock. Boil until thick and there is just enough to coat the chicken and sausage.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve. YUMMY!
A Few Notes: This is a recipe where it helps to have all the ingredients laid out and prepped before you start cooking. Everything goes from not ready to done quickly! I like to use sausage out of the casing to save myself some time. I also find that it helps to remove the sausage while you cook the chicken. It helps free up the pan to encourage browning. I almost always use extra honey to get to the right color. Be a little flexible on the liquid amounts. Do what you like!
Some recipes come and go from your repertoire and others become staples, go-tos, still others grab you and become yours…they become part of your traditions. One such recipe for us is what we have come to call Lemon Dream Cake (or Morphine cake or in this case, Kelly’s birthday cake)! I honestly don’t care that much about cake…put a chocolate chip cookie in front of me and I will be hard pressed to say no, but cake often disappoints. This changed my entire view of what cake can be; it is super lemony and not too sweet, moist and just perfect…every time! A little story about this cake: my grandmother was kind enough to let me live with her for a time and I really wanted to do something nice for her. I decided on this cake and I had none of the right equipment. We had to borrow pans from her friend (in exchange for some cake, of course), I had to do it all by hand and Grandma kept looking at all the work I was putting in thinking it couldn’t possibly be worth it. “Just go and get one!” she would tell me multiple times. I just kept at it, knowing it would be worth it, and it was. Shortly after I made it (luckily with some still safely stored in the fridge) she had surgery and when she woke up the first thing she asked for was a cup of coffee and a slice of my cake. Hence, Morphine Cake. It is still one of my fondest memories of living with her.
The first time we made this cake, we kept looking at it thinking there couldn’t possibly be a recipe with more steps (turns out we were wrong, we just hadn’t gotten that brave yet). But after investing the time and energy once, you get the hang of things and try it again, and again, and again. In fact, we have made it for more of my birthdays than I can count. Though having made it by hand on two occasions, I can tell you this recipe taught me to love the Kitchenaid! It is one of those multi-step, multi-day labors of love that really is worth it in the end. Plan 2-3 days ahead to spread out the steps and make it feel a bit less like a production and really try to follow the directions (which we are notoriously bad at), especially for the curd and the cake. If you are looking for a show stopper, try it out!
Lemon Dream (Morphine) Cake
Makes 10 to 12 servings
*You’ll need a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch star tip to create the decorative rosettes. Though we have decorated it lots of ways…Be Creative!! You will notice, ours is not perfect, but it does look homemade!
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 large eggs, separated
14 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Filling and frosting
2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
3 8-ounce containers chilled mascarpone cheese*
For lemon curd:
Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until thickened and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 160°F, about 10 minutes. Remove bowl from over water. Add butter; whisk until melted. Transfer 1 cup curd to small bowl for spreading on cake layers. Reserve remaining curd for filling. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of both curds. Chill overnight. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled. Make extra to use on everything!!)
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line bottom of two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides with parchment paper, do not grease pans or parchment. (Try this method). Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until mixture is very thick and slowly dissolving ribbons form when beaters are lifted, about 4 minutes. Using clean dry beaters, beat whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Add remaining 7 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff and glossy. Fold half of whites into yolk mixture, then sift half of flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt over and gently fold in until incorporated. Fold in remaining whites, then sift remaining flour over and fold in just until combined, being careful not to deflate batter.
Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool in pans on racks.
Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto 9-inch-diameter cardboard rounds, tapping on work surface if necessary to release cakes. Cut each cake horizontally in half (layers will be thin, you will think they are too thin, have faith). Peel off parchment.
Place sugar in small metal bowl. Add 1/2 cup boiling water; stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in lemon juice. (Can be made several days in advance and kept refrigerated).
For filling and frosting:
Beat whipping cream and sugar in large bowl until peaks form. Add mascarpone to lemon curd in medium bowl; whisk until blended. Fold whipped cream into lemon-mascarpone mixture.
Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Brush with 1/4 of syrup. Spread 1/4 cup lemon curd over, then 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Top with second cake layer; brush with 1/4 of syrup and spread with 1/4 cup lemon curd and 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Repeat with third cake layer, syrup, lemon curd, and filling. Top with fourth cake layer. Brush with remaining syrup, then spread remaining lemon curd over. Spoon 2 cups lemon-mascarpone filling into pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch star tip (to be used for rosettes). Spread remaining lemon-mascarpone filling as a frosting over sides of cake. Pipe small rosettes of frosting over top of cake, covering completely. Cover cake with cake dome; refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.
Decorate for the occasion as Ali did here…
And remember to Enjoy!!!!!
I got inspired to cook Pho in two ways. The first was from a WSJ article on the subject. The second was Ali and Geff who like this dish at a favorite restaurant for a weeknight dinner.
Another one I liked while researching this was this one below. I liked their opinions and details;
I don’t know of any great places for Pho in Boulder, but I did go to a noodle shop once in LA so I had a bit of a concept. Geff and Uncle Stacy provided a gift of some beef bones to get me started, but I have to say it was a bit overwhelming with my limited knowledge of the end game. So I started with the broth with the intention to freeze…Which I did. I wasn’t crazy though about the weird gray color of the stock. So, I kept that but started again with a more traditional stock with roasted bones. Think a cross between Ad Hock and Jacques Pepin. Anyway, I prefer roasted bones and veg for my beef stock. Still added the crazy roasted ginger and other spices. We did not use fish sauce as it’s not a fav in our house, but use it if you like it.
Yum…even though it was in the heat of summer Pho was great and fun to try. But, be prepared; it’s an adventure and lots of work!
There is a Thai place in our old neighborhood that makes unbelievable pineapple fried rice according to Mary. Ever since she mentioned it last week, I couldn’t get it out of my head. Conveniently, we had extra pineapple leftover from our Pineapple Salsa. On a night with little else in the house, we had just enough ingredients to make this “un-fried” version. There is so much flavor that you will never miss the extra oil, nuts or the egg. You can put any veggies you like and we often use dishes like this to clear things out. In this case, our emergency frozen veggies made an appearance and we were thankful for it! We also added cucumber at the last minute for a bit of texture which was a great way to remove the nuts you often find in this recipe. For a great ode to Thai food, try this one!
Pineapple Un-fried Rice
2 packages prepared saffron rice (one traditional and one Spanish flavor)
1 tomato, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 cup of fresh pineapple chopped (about ¼ inch pieces)
2 cups shredded chicken
1 ½ cups Whole Foods organic vegetable medley
1-2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
4 scallions, chopped
4 T basil, chopped
½ cucumber chopped
½ lime cut in wedges for garnish
For the sauce:
2 T light soy sauce
1 T Hoisin sauce
1 T coconut milk
1 t natural peanut butter
Juice of ½ lime
1 T Siracha
Combine the two types of rice and prepare as directed adding the chopped tomato to the cooking liquid. (We usually leave out the oil.) Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce and combine well. Heat the olive oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the garlic. When lightly cooked and aromatic, add the chicken to warm for 1-2 minutes then add the vegetables and cook another 1-2 minutes. Add the rice followed by the pineapple and combine all ingredients. Top with the sauce and add the cucumber and stir well. Garnish with the scallions, basil and lime wedges. Enjoy!
Fruit salad is a great addition to any party and always adds a healthy element! This is a simple one with a patriotic twist. Take some red fruits (I used watermelon and strawberries) and sprinkle in some blueberries and a touch of finely chopped fresh mint. Combine and add a bit of festivity to your buffet!!
What is more perfect for a Fourth of July celebration than a BBQ? It is the perfect way to celebrate America’s birthday!! We were invited to a friend’s house for the celebration and were asked to bring a side dish, so I thought who doesn’t like chips and salsa? This pineapple salsa was a huge hit (and may become margarita inspiration in the future!) If you wanted to get really fancy, you could scoop out half of the pineapple to use as a serving dish. I also baked up some tortilla chips for the leftovers, and they turned out great! Do you have a favorite party side dish that is your go-to? Happy (belated) 4th!
Pineapple Salsa and Baked Tortilla Chips
For the Salsa:
½ Pineapple, Cored and Chopped
1 Tomato, Chopped
2 Avocados, Cubed
2 Scallions, Chopped
½ – 1 Jalapeño, Finely Chopped with Seeds
Juice of 1 Lime
Salt and Pepper to taste
For the Chips:
Corn Tortillas (however many you need for your crowd)
Your favorite spice mixture
Preheat oven to 375°. Stack the tortillas and cut into quarters. Lay out in a single layer in baking sheets and spray with cooking spray. Season with salt and your seasoning mix. Turn the chips and repeat on other side. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, turning once. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving to finish the crisping process.
In a bowl combine the salsa ingredients and gently stir to combine. Allow to rest about 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!