Tuesday, November 30, 2010

turkey chowder

*Reminder: I am still accepting photes and descriptions for the Thanksgiving 2010 (blog) Parade. Send them in, people!*

I keep seeing blog posts about repurposing your Thanksgiving food, but I'm just not that interested. We loved our Thursday feast, and we've been quite happy eating the leftovers as they are. Granted, we sent home 2/3 of our remnants, so it didn't take long for us to finish it off, but our meal was perfectly delicious again and again. The brussels sprouts and green beans were gone by Friday; we finished the pie and butternut salad Saturday; Sunday saw the last of the roasted mashed sweet potatoes, and EDW polished off the last of the dressing yesterday. I used the turkey carcass to make soup Friday, and we ate part of that and froze the rest over the weekend. We still have a little bit of cranberry sauce, which I like on wasa flatbread with laughing cow blue cheese, and a bucket of whooped cream, which goes in our coffee. I had just a little bit of turkey left as of yesterday, so I made white chili* for dinner.

I have a couple recipes for white chili, but I like this one because it's quick. I can't remember what it was like last time, but this time it seemed much more like a chowder than a chili, and EDW and I didn't mind it in the least.

I sauteed my peppers, onion, celery and garlic. Then I heated some milk and chicken broth, and added spices, the veggies, frozen corn, navy beans, and a cup of cooked turkey. Dinner is served.
It's warm, creamy, and filling-- perfect for a rainy winter night, too.
I hope you like it. I made it.

*Lind, Mary Beth and Cathleen Hockman-Wert. Simply in Season. "White Chili." p. 302.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving (blog) Parade 2010: the RitterChans

On the menu? Lindsey says: "The first pictures are the pumpkin bars/cake I made with cream cheese icing (inspired by you). The second crazy-looking pic is a turkey cheese ball (made with cream cheese, cheddar cheese and turkey), decorated with crackers, colored cream cheese and pecans. Mom found the recipe and I helped decorate."
I'd like several pumpkin bars, thank you, and about a third of that cheese turkey.

I hope you like it. She made it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving (blog) Parade 2010: the Barron women

On the menu? Barbara reports: "We had: roast turkey and cornbread dressing; savory sweet potatoes (rosemary, garlic, EVOO & sea salt); mashed yukon golds; french green beans; boiled turnips (yuck); glazed carrots; brussel sprouts; cranberry relish & OS sauce; and we washed it down with a dry rose'."

OS= Ocean Spray. Emmel loves the ridges.

The gobbler, "turkey roasted with lemon butter and rosemary, lady apples and pearl onions," looks spectacular.
For dessert, they made the cake I ruined back in October. I'm told it flipped perfectly.
I hope you like it. They made it.

Thanksgiving (blog) Parade 2010: Abigail B

On the menu? Poached Pears stuffed with Goat Cheese, Cranberries, and Walnuts. I'd like some right now, please.
I hope you like it. She made it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving (blog) Parade 2010: the Arnaudins

Okay folks. We're starting the blog parade of food with me, since I have about 80 photes from yesterday. Thanks, photogs, for capturing all the moments! I'm not linking to recipes or giving citations-- it's just too much. If you want a recipe, email me and I'll get it to you. And don't forget to send me photes of your own feast!

I started cooking Wednesday night, and had almost all the prepwork completed by the time EDW's parents, sister, and grandparents arrived Thursday afternoon.

On my menu?

Spicy Cranberry Salsa and Tortilla Chips

Main Course
Raw Butternut Squash Salad with Fresh Ginger and Raisins
Brussels Sprouts in Brown Butter and Sage
Green Beans with Prosciutto, Pine Nuts and Lemon
Roasted Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Parmesan
Apple, Sausage, and Cornbread Dressing
Roasted Brined Turkey
Caramelized Onion and Rosemary Rolls
Turkey Gravy
Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Chess Cake Bars
Whooped Cream

I made everything from scratch except for--

-- the brine.I bought the Williams Sonoma brine jar. I think next year I'm going to make my own brine, but the WS brine has worked for me the past 2 years.

-- the gravy. I bought a jar of Williams Sonoma turkey gravy base and had Elin cook it on the stovetop. I don't eat gravy and last year it was really hard to make. Everyone said the jarred tasted fine, so I'm good with adding that little tradish.

-- the desserts. I asked our guests to take care of the sweet treats, and did they ever. Mama brought the best pumpkin pie I've ever had and these chess bars I couldn't stop eating. Elin whooped the cream by hand, as is our tradition.

My heartfelt thanks go to my famils: to my hissers, for calling me first thing Thursday morning to gobble with me; to my mommers, who chatted with me while I prepped my brussels sprouts; to Elin, who made the gravy and the whooped cream and laughed with me all afternoon; to Mama, who brought the dessert and her sweetness to our group, not to mention her assistance in inserting the meat thermometer; to Steve, who sliced (not carved) our beautiful gobbler; to Papa, who sang us a song at the dinner table about the Salvation army; to Mary, who swept in and helped clean the disaster area after the meal and reassured me that she didn't miss the sweet pecan topped sweet potato casserole at all; and to Edwin, who cleaned our house Thursday morning while I worked in the kitchen, who entertained our guests and was, as always, the best co-host of my life.

I'm going to go ahead and declare the meal to be a wild success. EDW liked the dressing and the sweet potatoes best; my faves were the butternut salad, brussels sprouts and green beans. I liked the cranberries, too. And the pie. And the whooped cream.

And now, here are lots and lots of photes.
I hope you like it. I made it.

Then I ate it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks, preesh!

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. I love it because there aren't really any rules or expectations-- all you have to do is sit down with people you love and eat a meal. The people and the food can change from year to year, but it's always about eating and loving. If you know me at all, you know that I love love, and even if you don't know me, I'm guessing you know how I feel about food.

In no particular order, here are 10 things I'm thankful for--- today and every day:

1. EDW

He's one of my favorite people. I like his face. I like that he makes me laugh. I like that he cleans up my kitchen disasters. I like that he doesn't take it personally that when I get really hungry I get more than a little hateful. I like that after almost 2 years of marriage, I still believe marrying him is the best thing I ever did.

2. My hissers

She's another favorite person. I like that we have the same face. I like that we have an obnoxious family call. I like that she sends me Peruvian delicacies. I like that she makes me laugh so much I snort, and that it happens a lot. I like that she tells me what I should read next. I like that she'll call me today and we'll gobble together.

3. My famils

I lucked out with a large, oddly hilarious and loving family. I like that my mommers made up a song about gathering together for turkey. I like that Eddie will choose a Christmas saying in the next couple weeks, and that he'll use it as often as possible. I like that my sister-in-law lets me call her Ellie and that she doesn't mind if I'm not that interested in dirt and bugs. I like that my in-laws invite me to dinner and ask me to bring A Christmas Story over to watch. I like that I have 5 grandparents (4 are shared by EDW), and a bazillion aunts, uncles and cousins. I like that family events almost always center on food.

4. A Granseefest

These girls are the best. I like that when we get together we eat a lot of peanut butter filled pretzels and drink a lot of wine. I like that Ash always looks so accessorized. I like that Charlotte always wants to listen to Christmas music. I like that Emmel always wants to have a dance party. I like that we always go to Whole Foods for breakfast and laugh until we cry.

5. Whooped Cream

I like that Susanna called it that as a tiny person and that we still say it's whooped today. I like it on my pie. I like it in my coffee. I like it in a serving spoon headed towards my mouth.

6. Sweet Friends

I like that I have so many. I like that they help me find my sparkle when it's missing. I like that they eat my food and say it's good. I like that they call me and answer when I call them. I like that they go see Harry Potter with me, and that some of them share my dirty crush on Alan Rickman (not as Snape, you perve! As Colonel Brandon! Or in Love, Actually!). I like that they want to watch Center Stage, Shag, Sound of Music or The Parent Trap, regardless of time or location. I like that they send me cards, and I like that they'll send me Happy Thanksgiving text messages today.

7. Starbucks

Nothing bad can ever happen at Starbucks (it's my family's Tiffany's, and I don't care if you think it's supporting the man). I like that when you register a Starbucks card you get prizes, like free soy milk and syrup upgrades and coupons.

8. Atticus

He's our sweet Mr. Wiggles. I like that he lets me smell his fur any time I want. I like that he acts like a dog. And let's be honest: I like his cat breath.

9. Asheville, NC

I like that we live here. I like that we can pick up WNCW on the radio in our home. I like that people want to visit us because we live in such a fun city. I like that there's a list as long as my arm of restaurants I want to try. I like that I can find almost any ingredient I need.

10. My bloggie

I like that I get to write whatever I want. I like that I get to say I hate casseroles even though I like things that are baked in casserole dishes. I like that you people read what I write. I like that this silly list gets put out there.

I hope you like it. I'm thankful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the opposite of Thanksgiving food

In the days before Thanksgiving, I like to eat anti-Thanksgiving foods to pump myself up even more for the gobbler and fixins. Sunday it was black eyed pea salad with roasted sweet potatoes. Monday it was black bean and brown rice bowls-- and okay, those had sweet potatoes too. ( I know sweet potatoes are coming on Thanksgiving, but they are my favorite)

Tonight it's Sara Foster chili (I need to make cornbread for my dressing and what goes better with cornbread than chili?) and peanut butter cookies. Our friends Nicole and Michael are stopping for the night on their way to Kentucky, and you know how I like to have a baked good to offer guests.

I've had peanut butter cookies on my mind since Sarah Dessen blogged about them last week. I used this BHG recipe, since that's the one Sarah was raving about, but I added a half cup of dark chocolate chips and a half cup of Heath bits to my dough.
I chilled the dough while I went grocery shopping for Thursday, and then I baked the cookies while I prepared our guest room. Clean sheets? Check. Towels out? Check. Delicious cookies? Check check!
I love that the cookies thin and de-puff while they cool. They're slightly chewy and the texture's great, what with the chocolate chips and bits of Heath bar and peanuts (I used crunchy peanut butter). Make these. You'll be glad you did.
I hope you like it. I made it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

cranberry apple crisp and other things to try

Our friends Sally Ann and David had us to dinner on Friday, and I took this cranberry apple crisp for dessert. I was especially curious about the cornmeal topper, and I wanted to see how it'd taste in comparison to the traditional oat topping.
It's simple to throw together, and I liked that the crisp relies on the sweetness of the apples to balance out the tart cranberries. I added cinnamon to the topping, and I would have added a pinch of ginger to the filling if I hadn't been out of dried ginger (and if my "fresh" hadn't turned out to be molding in the fridge). I did add a pinch of cloves to the apples and berries. It baked up and made my kitchen smell magical, and I wanted to dive in then and there.
I'm glad I didn't, because our dinner at Sally Ann and David's was fantastic. Especially wonderful was this warm pineapple delight she made, which I know sounds crazy but tasted incredible. Sally Ann uses her mom's recipe, but here's one I found that comes close. Let's call it pineapple delight, though, instead of the taboo casserole. It's seriously amazing.

The crisp was good. I loved the filling, and while the cornmeal topping wasn't bad, Edwin and I definitely prefer the tradish oats. I'll make this again with oats, I think, because the orange zest and cranberries really jazz up the apples.
We left a good bit of it for Sally Ann and David, and when we got home we went ahead and finished off the crisp before bed. It seemed like the right thing to do, so I have no idea how it is the next day.

Saturday morning, while I was wishing I had leftover crisp to heat up for breakfast, two of my bffs Emmel and Ash were inhaling these Amish cinnamon rolls and watching the Raleigh Christmas parade. I requested a phote for the blog, and here's what I got:
I definitely want to try them, and soon. Maybe around Christmas? Or better yet, maybe for our anniversary? Surely EDW and I deserve a treat on the morning of our second wedding anniversary-- and then I only have to wait a couple weeks.

So. Make the crisp, but use oats. Make the pineapple dish, but don't call it a casserole. Make the cinnamon rolls, and invite me along. Thanks, preesh.

I hope you like it. I made (some of) it.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I've had this applesauce recipe bookmarked for a while now, but I needed to wait for my applesauce jar to become available. I usually buy the big plastic jar from the Wal-Mart, and I wanted to reuse the container. I finished up the commercial sauce this week and set to making my own on Thursday.

Since I buy apples by the peck at the farmer's market, I needed to weigh out 4 pounds. I don't have a food scale, so I took what I thought was 4 pounds of apples and a bag to the bathroom scale. I stepped on after a Mexican lunch (ouch) and then held the bag with apples until I was 4 pounds up. Done and done.

I used a combination of apples. I never buy red delicious or Rome apples, and I only cook with apples I like to eat, so this was a mixture of Mutsu, winesap, Arkansas Black, honeycrisp and granny smith.
Applesauce is amazingly simple to make, but I was really proud of my efforts. It cooks down in no time, and I didn't even need my blender to mash it up. If I were actually using this for baby food, I'd stick it in a blender for a smoother texture, but since it's for eating and baking, I left it as is. It's thick and chunky and the flavor is out of this world.
I got almost a whole jar of sauce, and while it's not cheaper than Wal-Mart's, it tastes sooooo much better. Make your own. It doesn't need sugar-- just a spoon.
I hope you like it. I made it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving (blog) Parade 2010

Hey readers? How about this year at Thanksgiving, if you make any or all of the meal, you take a phote or five? Then you email the photes to me, and I'll post them sometime after we gobble til we wobble.
Here are some pictures from last year's feast. It was my first time making Thanksgiving, and I'm doing it again this year. I'm changing a couple things from last year, and we're adding guests (yay Mama and Papa!), and I think it'll be wonderful.
I love Thanksgiving. I love blog friends. Send me your pictures and we'll have a parade.
I hope you like it. I'm going to make it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

spicy roasted tomato and red pepper sauce

I made up another recipe this week! I wanted to make a pasta sauce with roasted tomatoes, so I just went for it. Here's my recipe:

Spicy Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Sauce
(makes enough for 4 servings over pasta)

1 red bell pepper
9 plum tomatoes, halved
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 T olive oil, divided
14.5 oz crushed tomatoes
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 t crushed red pepper (start with 1/4 t)
3/4 t dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Use your (clean!) hands to toss plum tomatoes and garlic with 1 T olive oil on a cookie sheet. Rub the red pepper with the oil from your hands. Roast 30-35 minutes, turning the pepper every 10-15 minutes.

Set tomatoes and garlic aside. Put pepper in a ziploc bag for 10-15 minutes. Remove skin and seeds-- don't rinse under water! Chop pepper and add to tomatoes.

In a large pot, saute onion in remaining 1 T olive oil. Add pepper, roasted tomatoes, garlic, and crushed tomatoes. Add spices and heat through.

Puree sauce with immersion blender. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta.

This was definitely tasty. I started with 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, but I kicked it up a bit after pureeing. I really like a spicy tomato sauce, and it wasn't too spicy for EDW to enjoy, either.
We liked this a lot, but we think it'd be better with Italian sausage. Edwin just isn't crazy about a smooth pasta sauce, and while I like them, I agree that it needs something else for texture. All in all, though, I'm proud of myself for winging it in the kitchen.
I hope you like it. I made it.