Chocolate-Peppermint Shortbread Cookies

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For anyone with Scots background, shortbread is the Christmas cookie. In whatever “shape or form”, to quote my Dad, it might come.  It also happens to be my  very favorite cookie of any season and you can find it on the blog in a few incarnations... The endless variations are a large part of its intrinsic attraction for this baker:

Raspberry Shortbread Sandwich Cookies and Valrhona Chocolate Shortbreads with Sea Salt:

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Gingerbread Waffles with Quick Cranberry Jam

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Holiday breakfasts, for many people, are laden with tradition.  Such as: We always have pancakes. OR My best friend makes scrambled eggs with peppers and onions. OR  Bacon gets fried up in huge quantities for me.

In our house, we are addicted to my mother-in-law’s egg casserole and my homemade cinnamon rolls.

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Two-Cheese Walnut and Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

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Whenever I run into savory little cheese cookies someone’s served with a glass of wine, I’m happy indeed.  These days, they’re usually they’re made with Parmigiano-Reggiano, but older food memories include homemade crispy little cheddar crackers that were just as good with beer as with wine.  Back in the day, these were called “Cheese Pennies” and while they were usually simply round, occasionally a creative baker would even roll them out and cut them out into shapes (suits, of course) for bridge club.

Things that grow together go together

is the saying–Cheddar and Beer being two things the British do very well and Parmigiano-Reggiano and Wine being two things the Italians do just superbly. So, whichever way you roll –to coin a phrase –these savory bits are luscious.

Checking through my top choice cookbooks for such recipes (and tooling around the internet, of course) showed me there’re just as many varieties of not-sweet cookies as there are baking (or other) books on my cookbook shelves.

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Sheet Pan Dinner: Dijon Salmon with Garlicky Green Beans and Mushrooms + Leftovers for Salmon Tacos or Salad

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I adore Thanksgiving. It loves me back. It is my favorite holiday out of the whole year.  There’s nothing that makes me more thrillingly anticipating than to bring the last of the sage in, save bread for dressing, take stock of my canned pumpkin supply, or bake cranberry bread along with any pie you can name. To say nothing of the fact that I don’t like Christmas decorating (or shopping or wrapping), but can’t wait to put up pumpkins, corn stalks, leaves, scarecrows, and all things autumn come October. Ok, September. Continue reading

Turkey Noodle Soup–Or How to Make Use of that Turkey Carcass

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Turkey carcass is good in fridge for 3-4 days.

If you kept or froze your turkey carcass from Thanksgiving and aren’t quite sure what to do with it, this is your method for soup. While it looks like a recipe, it’s merely a method and you must yourself judge which ingredients you have or want to add; it’s all about flexibility.

Note the options of using your leftover vegetables, gravy, stock, or just adding all purchased low-sodium chicken stock and so on. 

In about an hour an a half, you’ll have just about the best turkey noodle soup you ever ate. If you are skipping noodles this week, leave them out and, instead, add extra fresh or frozen vegetables. (Brown rice, wild rice, or barley are other possibilities.) Continue reading

Thanksgiving Menu Chez Morgan, 2016

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Be happy giving. Be happy in your thanks. Just as the first Americans shared their table and their abundance with the very first immigrants!

Just for fun, I thought I’d post today’s menu.  Enjoy the holiday! I’m off to make turkey stock.

Thanksgiving Menu, 2016  Chez Morgan

 STARTERS

Roasted shrimp, fresh vegetables, aioli

Gruet Sparkling Wine, New Mexico

FIRST COURSE

Curried Apple-Butternut Squash Soup

Sineann Gewurtztraminer, 2015 (Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon) OR Autumnal IPA (Local Relic, CSprings)

 ENTRÉE AND SIDES

Gas Grill-Roasted Turkey

Oyster dressing

Sausage dressing (George Hamamoto)

Mashed potatoes

Gravy

Cauliflower with Gruyere Cheese and Parsley

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Sherry and Walnuts

Brussels Sprouts Salad

Cranberry Relish     (Jan Keder)

Homemade Bread     (Jan Keder)

Pumpkin Bread with Dried Cherries and Walnuts

Butter 

Bethel Heights (Salem, Oregon) Pinot Noirs: West Block Vineyard and Casteel Vineyard, 2010

Seven Hills Dry Rose 2015 (Columbia Valley, Washington)

OR Oak Aged Belgium Strong Ale (Local Relic, Colorado Springs)

DESSERT

 Cranberry-Citrus Cheesecake, Pecan-Bourbon Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Mousse (Ann Campbell), Apple Pie (Jeanne Patalano), Shoofly Pie (Mary Pat Garman)

Coffee/Tea Brandy/Port

Cauliflower Casserole with Gruyère Cheese–Make and Freeze (Right After You Donate to Your Local Food Pantry!)

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Food bloggers, too, are in recovery-from-election mode. Skip down to recipe if need be.

In our difficult, name-calling, post-election country, our American world appears divided–though not shattered–by fear, unhappiness, anger,  and misunderstanding. (The entire world is divided not just by politics, but between those who have food and homes and those who don’t.) As we move toward our usually happy day of Thanksgiving, we feel left and right, liberal and conservative, blue and red, educated and unscholarly, open and closed, Fox and MSNBC, Rush Limbaugh and NPR…  I don’t feel as if we are split as much by religion (though some might not agree) if only because I drank the “justice for all and freedom of religion” kool-aid and do not want to believe any government of mine would pit one religion against another.  The issue of race is, it seems, more complicated.  A mix of cultures and religions is who we’ve always been and always will be, though; it’s the beauty and at times the ugliness of the United States.  Right now it’s ugly. The train left the station long ago about this being a Christian country. And, truthfully, while Dave and I remain firmly entrenched, working and worshiping within a progressive protestant Christian community, the majority of people we know don’t even worship. Anywhere.  (Though worshipers are still largely and sadly divided by race.) The believing who go to mosque, synagogue, or church regularly are, more and more, the faithful fewer–perhaps under 25% of our population. How could religion be key here? Hmm. When I hear, “The evangelicals are back in power,” I can’t help but wonder.  Continue reading

Beef Burgundy: Streamlined (Boeuf Bourguignon)

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This was taken before the pot went into the oven. More photos later!

For Election Day 2016, I’m spending my time making my streamlined Beef Burgundy. It’ll take my mind off what’s going on, keep me from checking my phone or computer too often, and give Dave, the dogs, and me something great to smell.

Tucker and Rosie in family room

Tucker and Rosie in family room waiting for dinner

Even my streamlined Beef Burgundy takes a good bit of time (I started yesterday) and should be shared. Who needs friends more than on election night? We invited a couple of really close ones for the meal and for the duration–whichever comes first. Continue reading

Sausage and Beer Soup with Brussels Sprouts and White Beans

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Sausage+Beer Soup w/ Brussels Sprouts+White Beans – Scroll down for recipe

After nearly a month away from the blog and home

…first to see our daughter Emily in Pennsylvania..

       …and then to cruise via some stormy, leftover hurricane seas with my sister Helen from our favorite foreign spot, Quebec City, to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida… … 

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