If you’re like lots of other folks come January, you might be cutting back on this or that–maybe carbs, red meat, fat, sugar, or alcohol. Or did you make a commitment to increase your veggies? Sigh. Same here; I’m watching what’s going in with the hope of making up for the few extra pieces of bread and glasses of wine I enjoyed during the Mexican cruise. But there’s no need to suffer and every reason to adore the meals meant to increase health and decrease the waistline. This Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli Bean Bowl (how do I name these things?) is a new favorite at our house and because it’s made up of mostly pantry and colorful vegetable bin ingredients, it goes together pretty quickly and fills you up. While the Brussels sprouts and broccoli roast, there’s time to chop the rest of the vegetables and grab the last few ingredients that serve as a dressing. Garnishes of juicy cherry tomatoes and perky olives top the whole thing off and, while I didn’t think hard about it at first, this vegetable-heavy meal scores at the checkout, too at about $4 or less per serving (depending on how you make it or which sales you hit.) And if that’s not enough, you’re getting about 15 grams of protein in each 2-cup serving! Between the tender-crisp roasted sprouts and broccoli, the crunchy fresh vegetables, the creamy beans, the bright lemon, and the briny high notes, my bowl sings of balance, textural difference, and colorful vibrance. Since the ingredient list isn’t terribly short (chop, chop, chop), I offer a quicker option without a few of the fresh vegetables. (Perhaps as a side for a game day spread? Add feta for fun.) Many home cooks look at long ingredient lists and quickly move on, so I offer this option if that’s you. I keep any number of vegetables at one time because I like God’s own garden in my salads and a mixed variety of choices for dinner without making another grocery run. And, as a mostly retired person, I don’t mind lots of chopping. I know not everyone is like that. Ti piace, as my choral conducting professor at University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minnesota) used to say. You like it! Do as you please. Make it just the way you want it. (Or, as we Americans might say, “do it your way.”) Ti piace always sounded better!Continue reading
Thanksgiving-An Intimate View (Redux)
This post is an update from a Thanksgiving post in 2009 and features new text/ photos, printable recipes, and more.
While some Americans are having a larger Thanksgiving, quite a few are again limiting numbers and thinking about a smaller menu. A turkey roulade (roo-LAHD) — a rolled up, stuffed turkey breast served up with a pan or two of roasted vegetables is for just that more intimate occasion and will serve 1-2 with plenty of leftovers, 4 with some, and 6 without much at all in those pesky where-are-the-lids Tupperware containers. (You can double it all for a larger group if need be, but do plan on more time. I also include a couple of other options for one-pan sides.) With some prep, this beautiful meal goes into the oven all together and is done in less than an hour — which makes it a lovely small dinner party menu as well. If you can get a boned turkey breast and don’t have to bone it yourself, you are way ahead of the game. Not Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes and gravy or …? You can surely add other dishes though you don’t need them. (See TIPS below for links to Brussels sprouts I made, gravy without drippings, my spicy cranberry sauce, etc.) Easily purchased appetizers and a bakery pumpkin pie help give you most of the day off, a lot less dish washing, and time to watch “Home for the Holidays,” with Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, and Charles Durning– one of my favorite Thanksgiving movies. No movies, but want music? Here are some listening ideas.
Note: While this meal is basically gluten-free, do check all purchased ingredients, including turkey, for GF labels. Our Honeysuckle frozen turkey breast did not contain gluten, but other brands might.Continue reading
Rosemary Chicken with Vegetables (Pan Sauce, too!)
Most months there are probably a couple of roast chickens on the menu at our house whether it’s winter, spring, summer, or fall. They may be slid unceremoniously onto the grill by husband Dave with only a fast slick of olive oil and a free-handed shower of salt and pepper (see below).Continue reading
One-Pan Thanksgiving Sides: Easy is as Easy Does
Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite holiday. There’s no gift buying or wrapping, little decorating except the table, and it’s all about the food and wine. I’ve cooked for two times twenty and I’ve cooked for two, loved both and everything in between.
Thanksgiving in the Time of Covid-19: Is It Safe to Celebrate….
This year, with distanced or small Thanksgivings on tap for many folks, it could be the time to pull out all of the stops for a dinner-party style meal complete with several small courses and wine pairings. What if you dig out grandma’s china and crystal, throw on a table cloth, light the candles, and go big? It’s not something easily possible when there are 15 of you including 2 toddlers who eat nothing, a newly-vegan teenager, and aging parents (low sodium, please), but it is doable and entertaining for four who might share the cooking. Yeah, so that’s one idea.Continue reading
Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Parmesan Vegetables–How and Why to Roast a Whole Chicken at Home this Week!
While chicken often tops the list of dinner ingredients in the U.S., (“Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” or “A chicken in every pot!”) it doesn’t take much to figure out those meals today are often based on ubiquitous, tasteless boneless chicken breasts instead of the flavorful cage-free chickens Herbert Hoover supposedly wanted for us. The American obsession with huge chicken breasts (hmph) is a sad one and continues for many reasons–one being it’s easy to not remember where meat comes from if you only have a slab of it and no fat, bones, joints, tendons, guts, or skin. I’ve had more than one adult student who, faced with putting a whole chicken (already cut up, by the way) in a skillet to brown for a tasty fricassée, admitted they had never before handled a chicken with bones. I, on the other hand, almost never buy boneless breasts, though I’ll admit I adore boneless thighs for everything from sandwiches to chili. There are several reasons–the main one being the taste factor–but here’s the critical other one. Because we demand outrageous and overwhelming numbers of inexpensive low-fat, protein rich boneless breasts (just try to buy bone-in breasts in today’s market) compared to other parts, chickens today are often–though not always– raised in incredibly poor and horrific conditions by inhumanely treated workers. How’d that come to be???Continue reading
Chicken and Vegetables
There are times you only want some chicken and vegetables. Ask Ina Garten. This is for that day. Mid-December and a few too many goodies coming up next weekend, right? There are lots of things that are faster to cook than a whole roast chicken, but few that are tastier and more satisfying.
Roast Pork Pot Pie with Parmesan-Black Pepper Biscuits
A gorgeous pork loin roasted over the weekend for our wine group along with a big bunch of Simon and Garfunkel Vegetables left me with two large containers of fragrant meat and vegetables in the fridge. What to do?
Warm Quinoa Salad with Roasted Autumn Vegetables or a Vegan Thanksgiving
( Just thinking: If you’re interested in the huge South Dakota snowstorm, please read my friend Margaret Watson’s post on her blog Leave it Where Jesus Flang It. We had just passed by there in gorgeous weather on our trip to Colorado.)
While a towering stack of boxes looms, I can’t find the stereo or my knife block, I still want to eat something delectable AND I want those around me to have a decent healthy meal as well. For the next little bit, we’ve got our oldest son and grandson living with us while their house is being renovated. Daughter-in-law arrives on weekends, traveling down from her job in Boulder.
We now have four dogs in the house for a Four-Dog Kitchen: photo coming!
|My plan: Keep boxes in garage, bring in a few at a time; keep house from being screaming mess. HA!|
While I cook most meals without a recipe (and you have the evidence in this blog), I’m also an avid cookbook, newspaper, blog, and newsletter reader; I like to see what others are cooking. And, just like everyone, I give these recipes a whirl when one of them truly appeals to me.
One of my regular email newsletters is from CHOWHOUND–a site that includes boards with local restaurant and food information, recipes, reviews of equipment, a blog, and more. To receive the newsletter, you’ll need to sign up for the site and click on the newsletters tab in your profile. It’s well worth it. Another newsletter I’m really fond of is one from FINE COOKING; mine comes daily and focuses on quick meals. That it includes wine pairings makes it all the better, of course. FOOD AND WINE has a few newsletters; I receive the daily one and love it. I’m more apped (sic!) to use the email newsletter than the app on my ipad. Dunno why.
Over a week ago, this Chowhound Warm Quinoa Salad with Roasted Autumn Vegetables showed up in my inbox and I ran to the store, brought the recipe up on my iphone, bought the ingredients and ran home to make it for dinner. It happened to be a first full night in the house celebration and I also bought some small steaks and salmon filets for a surf n turf motif, but I really think the salad was the star of the show. Not only that it, the recipe made lots. We ate it cold for lunch for two days (delicious) and I snacked on it once or twice. If by chance you don’t like brussel sprouts, just leave them out and add some extra root vegetables.
Later, I kept thinking what a great vegan or vegetarian main for Thanksgiving. October 14 is Thanksgiving in Canada, by the way.
While you’ll need to go to Chowhound and find the recipe (adapted from Joann Chang), you can see by looking at this that it’s very simply a gorgeous amount of roasted root vegetables on a bed of quinoa. The idea is to roast some vegetables, cook the quinoa, and stir it all up together. Great food; great leftovers. What you don’t see is the Asian-style dressing — YUM.
My changes: small, but critical for this version……………
The given recipe on Chow calls for stirring the vegetables into the quinoa and doesn’t include the fresh greens. I thought the salad would be more attractive with the vegetables on top for visibility and I just loved the idea of a bed of freshness (the spinach or other greens) underneath for color and texture. The key element is the quinoa, which is quickly cooked –as quinoa is–and then stirred up with an Asian dressing that includes a whole bunch of chopped green onions. If you don’t like quinoa, make brown rice; it would work perfectly well. My other change was adding crushed red pepper to the Asian dressing. It’s almost perfect, but I thought it needed a bit of a bang. I didn’t do this, but next time I would add some toasted nuts of some kind–chopped walnuts or sliced almonds–for extra crunch.
|Coming into Colorado Springs: Cows and brilliant sun|
don’t know quinoa??…It’s really a seed related to spinach or tumbleweed (rather than a grain) that can be traced back to ancient Peru…and yes, it’s gluten free, though it looks a bit like couscous.
Low in calories and fat, quinoa is high in carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. While it cooks in just about the same time and same way as white rice (maybe a few minutes longer), it also has close to the same amount of calories. A good source of all the amino acids, iron, potassium, and magnesium, quinoa also offers a bit of zinc– about 1/4 of the daily allowance for women.
Try quinoa as tasty hot breakfast cereal with maple syrup and hot milk, or as a good foil for spicy hot chili. This grain is luscious in salads and can sub for couscous or even rice in many places. On it’s own or nestled next to your chop, add a little butter, salt and pepper and it’s ready. Read all about quinoa here.
IF YOU LIKE THIS, YOU MIGHT LIKE MY
Shrimp-Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, and Blue Cheese
Turkey Pot Pie or Last Ditch and Best Effort for Thanksgiving Leftovers
|Turkey Pot Pie|
You might have lived when pot pies were a regular feature of your mom’s menus. Maybe you had them instead of TV Dinners. I have a sketchy memory of frozen pies from the grocery @10 for $1. This undoubtedly dates me in an unkind way. I did not have a mother who refused to cook; she cooked a lot. That didn’t mean we never had a frozen pot pie. I remember liking them, though I maybe haven’t tasted one in fifty years.
If you go out to eat at any number of restaurants these days, you’ll find homemade pot pies are on lots of menus and people order them over and over. Definitely comfort food. Certainly fattening. But oh so filling and often luscious. They’re full of all kinds of things–poultry, vegetables, roast beef, sea food, etc.
Before Thanksgiving, I set out to make the best turkey pot pie (using leftovers) I could. No more expensive restaurant versions and certainly no more frozen pies. I invited a group of people for a turkey and roasted root vegetable dinner and then had my way with what was left. I discovered it was a. simple and b. better than the 10 for $1 ones from Garofalo’s on Crawford Avenue. I served it up with a side of lemoned broccolini and a scoop of my red hot cranberry sauce, as well as a handsome glass of Oregon Chardonnay or maybe a French Côtes du Rhône–a lovely, medium-bodied and inexpensive wine that flatters oven-roasted vegetables, as well as pork or poultry. (And lots else)
Dave and I both liked the pie better than the meal from which it came. Go figure.
Feel free to take this filling and top it with biscuits–even Bisquick biscuits– in a 2 qt greased rectangular glass casserole dish. (I made chicken pot pie often for my kids growing up…usually with biscuit topping.) Or buy the Pillsbury pie dough from the refrigerator section. But do make it. You’ll be glad you did. I promise. *If you’d like to make my crust, use the recipe I made for Kathy’s Apple Pie; that’s a good all-purpose crust.
Alyce’s Turkey Pot Pie
There are three parts to this recipe: 1. Crust 2. Filling 3. Sauce
2 9″ pie crusts* (Plus 1T melted butter -or 1 egg white beaten with a bit of water- brushed on top crust before baking.) Made or bought.
1 Tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery with leaves, diced
4 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon each fresh thyme and tarragon (or 1/2 t each dried)
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage (or 1/4 t dried, powdered sage)
2 cups chopped roasted root vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, potatoes, winter squash, etc)
2 c chopped cooked turkey, white or dark meat
Sauce: (Basically a velouté with added cream or milk)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon each ground sea salt and ground white pepper
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup (8 ounces) chicken stock
1 cup milk, cream or half and half
1. If you have made or bought pie crusts, put one in the pie pan (trim and pinch) and place the other between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate the pan and the wrapped dough while you make the filling and the sauce.
2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat and add onion, celery, and mushrooms. Cook until vegetables are softened, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic during last minute of cooking and stir in herbs.
3. Take out pie pan with bottom crust and spoon onion mixture evenly over the bottom of the dough. Top with chopped vegetables and turkey.
|Spoon onion mixture into pie pan.|
|Top with roasted vegetables and turkey. Pour on sauce.|
|Add the top crust and brush with butter or egg whites. Make slits for steam.|
4. Make sauce (see below) and pour over the turkey and vegetable mixture. The turkey and vegetables should be just about covered. If not, drizzle in just a little more chicken stock, milk, or cream.
5. Take the top crust out of the refrigerator and place on top of the filled pie. Trim edges and pinch together edges of the two crusts.
6. Brush entire top crust with butter or an eggwhite beaten with a bit of water. Make several slits in the top crust (for steam to escape) and bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
7. Place pie on rack and cool 15 minutes or so. Slice and serve hot with broccolini (squeeze lemon on top) and cranberry sauce.
Making the sauce: In a 2qt saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add salt, pepper, and flour. Stir for 2-3 minutes for flour to cook a little bit and slowly whisk in chicken stock and milk or cream. Simmer, stirring often, until just barely thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings. A quick sprinkle of nutmeg is a possible addition, as is a drop or two of hot sauce.
Two-Dog Kitchen or Around the ‘Hood
A few really random pics from our Thanksgiving Trip to Illinois
|Turkey Soup… of course…Yesterday!
Read my recipe for the above soup on examiner.com
|Visiting with sister and niece on way home.|
|Grandpa and Grandma’s Dining Room|
|Turkey ready for its sauna. 4 cups turkey stock with lots of veggies at bottom of roaster makes for great gravy.|
|Dave’s Tomatoes with Smoked Oysters, Capers, and Horseradish|
|Making Turkey stock. Yes, use the giblets and the neck., though our turkey had NO NECK!|
|Pumpkin Bread with Candied Ginger and Pecan Topping|
|Cauliflower Gratinee from SILVER PALATE|
|Making a wine cork wreath in the garage.|
|Needs a bow.|
|Grandpa–a last mow of the yard.|
|Me–making homemade rolls.|
|Leftover pumpkin pie filling–in the microwave for a quick dessert.|
Roasted Pork Loin and Hot! Cranberry Sauce
|New USDA regs say it’s ok if it’s a bit pink.|
As a recipe tester for Cooks Illustrated, I get to make all kinds of things. I mostly like them, but sometimes I don’t. The note that arrives with each recipe always says something to the effect of:
If you don’t care for one or more of the ingredients in the dish or wouldn’t ordinarily eat it, please do not test this recipe…
So, for instance, if you hate hot stuff, don’t test the On-Fire Texas Chili. I love to see the magazine months and months later to see recipes on which I’ve worked; I’m interested to see the final result-which may not be the recipe I saw originally. I test recipes far out of season sometimes (I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before–) and adore that out of time and place experience that has us eating turkey in March. That was one of the best turkeys I’ve ever eaten, by the way, but felt like it took all day to make. If you didn’t buy the magazine last January or February, the recipe is online, but you must subscribe.
Testing recipes is much like my life as a church choir director that often has me reviewing Christmas cantatas over the summer when I’m less busy. Even now, while I’m somewhat late getting started as I didn’t begin my new job until September, I’m singing daily about the baby Jesus while folks are buying Halloween candy and setting out their pumpkins. Of course, I, too, am setting out my pumpkins despite adoring canned pumpkin.
Worth mentioning again: buy canned pumpkin now if you need it for Thanksgiving pies or pumpkin bread. There is, for another year, a shortage.
A bigger meal: Add the pumpkin soup from the last post for a first course. For starters, serve something quite light like warmed olives and a few crispy chips; this is a big meal.
Want to bake a sweet something? Make my pear or apple crostata for this fall dinner.
Not baking? Purchased ginger cookies and a scoop of rum raisin ice cream. Perfect.
Wine: This is a meal for a splurge if you’re up for it: buy an Oregon Pinot Noir. Or try an entry-level bottle, which are now at entry-level prices. For instance: Ken Wright’s under $30 beginner Pinot, which is not “beginner” at all. Another option is a (French) Côtes du Rhone– many of which are so tasty, truly fallish, and under $15. Ask your wine shop for a recommendation about which one. Or just pick one to try. You’ll probably be quite satisfied. The 1/2 cup of wine you need in the cranberry sauce will be perfect out of any of these bottles.
A note about cooking pork loin: Unless done correctly (I don’t want to say “well” as we don’t have to cook it done anymore–145 degrees F is the USDA number today), pork can be dry and tasteless. This particular recipe, however, which I often pair with roasted vegetables, is juicy and incredibly flavorful even leftover and/or warmed up. Great for pork tacos the next day or chopped up in a frittata, it also makes lovely sandwiches. We like it with my hot and spicy cranberry sauce.
|Drizzle cut up root vegetables with olive oil, dust well with salt, pepper, and rosemary and roast at 425 F for 35-40 minutes or at 350 for closer to an hour.|
|This is easy, lush, and spicy–if you want it to be. (Recipe below) Good hot or cold.|
So, just for a fun change from my own kitchen’s recipes, here’s one I’ve adapted from CI, and hope you enjoy. A 3 or 3.5 pork pork loin feeds 6 generously and a 5 # roast feeds 8. I like to carve the loin, place it at the center of a large serving platter, and surround it with roasted vegetables. It can be placed at the center of the table or passed and everyone can help themselves.
Roasted Pork Loin and Hot Cranberry Sauce
- 3-5# pork loin
- 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons coarsely-ground black peppper
- 2 Tablespoons finely minced fresh or dried rosemary
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Unwrap pork loin and set in roasting pan on a cooking sprayed or lightly oiled “V” Rack if you have one.
- In a small bowl, mix together sugar, pepper, rosemary, and salt. Rub spice mixture over the pork and let sit an hour. You can do this the night before and leave it covered in the frig, too. Let the meat come to room temperature before roasting.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. (Make sure your oven is clean.) Place roasting pan with pork on a rack situated at the middle of the oven and roast 30 minutes.
- Lower emperature to 375 degrees F and continue to roast another 30-40 minutes. Check temperature at this point and remove from oven to rest or continue roasting until thermometer reads 145 -150 before resting. Let sit 15-20 minutes (tented with foil) before carving. It’s fine if it’s a bit pink and it should be juicy.
- Serve with a side of my Hot! Cranberry Sauce (recipe below.)
Hot! Cranberry Sauce
- 1 pound fresh cranberries
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 apple, peeled, and chopped
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (leave out if you don’t like spicy food)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Water to cover
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
In a 3 qt heavy sauce pan, place 1 pound fresh cranberries, 1/2 lemon quartered, 1/2 large apple peeled and chopped, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, and 1/2 cup (or more to taste) brown sugar. Add water to cover fruit, the pour in 1/2 cup red wine. Bring to a boil, and lower heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes until cranberries pop, fruit is softened, and mixture is thick. Stir frequently and add water if it becomes too dry.
Remove lemon to serve or let your sour puss friend eat it. (Oranges can be used in place of lemons or in addition.) Serve hot or cold. Keeps well in refrigerator for several days. If you do not like spicy food, leave out the crushed red pepper.
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
Busy around our house as fall takes hold. Temperatures are dipping down toward the 40’s at night and it’s pretty dark at 7:30 am this far north. Fall gardening chores are in swing (trimming back and covering rose bushes and cutting back hydrangeas, etc) and the leaves are still falling. My lilac trees continue to hold green leaves, but the oak leaves from the neighbor’s yard are all over. Along the Mississippi River, the maples are shedding leaves rapidly. Last week, I drove to work through nearly a maelstrom of leaves flying all over the car. When the dogs and I walk, Gabby is loving playing through the carpet of brown.
Below: I couldn’t have done this if I tried. Setting down my music bag on a dining room chair the other day, the bag caught the edge of the fall-decorated table/cloth and pulled everything off without damaging a thing.
|Et voila: set for Sunday night supper for World Food Day.|
|Pumpkin bread time. Set out early to defrost in its wrapping.|
I had Sue for dinner Monday night to celebrate the end of Opus and Olives, Book Club for wine and cheese and apple crostata on Tuesday night, Choir on Wednesday, church music friends on Friday, and 6 for dinner Sunday night for World Food Day…. It was a cooking week, but mostly did things I’ve done before and didn’t take many pictures??? Too busy, I guess. The beautiful thing was sharing so many moments with so many people I love.
The house will be in an uproar as the kitchen floor is taken up next week and the new wooden floor installed the following week. In between, I get a new refrigerator to replace the nearly- new refrigerator that won’t open it’s freezer side because it’s too big for the space! So silly and wasteful. I bought a German refrigerator, a Fisher and Paykel. It arrives Friday to go into the dining room until the kitchen is done!
|$1159 is the 2-drawer dishwasher price!|
I continue to do lectionary study at St. Frances Cabrini in Prospect Park on Thursday mornings with an ever-growing group of worship planners. While I sometimes miss my old Bible study at Faith awfully (Love you all so!), I’m so thrilled to be part of a new group. We’re also planning an ecumenical Thanksgiving service for Monday, November 21 at Cabrini. Time tba.
Note re salmon: Read yesterday’s NYT article about purchasing Pacific wild salmon.
They appear to be infected by a virus that started in the commercial fish farms.
COOK THIS NOW : 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can’t Wait to Make by NYT columnist and long-time cookbook author, Melissa Clark. is the newest cookbook on my shelf. Studded with sumptuous photos, this seasonal charmer will tell you with a delightful “voice” exactly what to cook exactly now. Get yours soon (or today as an e-book) by clicking on the title!
Meantime, we’re about to commence a bit of travel east and west while the dust flies in the house. Might be a hiatus in the blog, but know I’m cooking another “The Big Night” feast with the gang in Colorado. Keep watch for pics.
Saddest week for organist and friend, Roberta Kagin, who lost her dear husband Craig Alexander last week. The stories told about this man (one goal, nearly achieved, was to race past the police dept in Woodbury 100 times going over 100mph) were so many and indicated a love for life I couldn’t help but admire to the nth degree. At age 84, he was still in-line skating to his volunteer job comforting families at the hospital surgery waiting room. Go, Craig, go! The rest of us: Live, People, Live!!
Do it all with joy and sing a new song,