Thanksgiving 2010

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First, I made some cheese scones with extra sharp cheddar cheese. We just snacked on those earlier in the day, along with some crackers and fancy salame made with wine.

About 2:30 pm, I put an 11-pound turkey in the oven. But first, I rubbed butter mixed with rosemary and garlic in to the skin. Inside the turkey, I stuffed a few quartered onions, a head of garlic  (sliced open) and 2 sprigs of rosemary with a few more onions and garlic cloves tossed in the bottom of the roasting pan along with 3 cups of chicken broth. Roasted at 450 for 45 minutes then turned down to 350 and cooked until the thermometer stuck in the thigh registered 160 (about 2 hours). During the roasting, I also basted the bird every 20-30 minutes with the juices.

For stuffing (okay, dressing- it didn’t go in the bird), I based my creation on the one the Pioneer Woman made during her Thanksgiving Showdown with Bobby Flay. I used just french bread cubes and skipped the pancetta. I also used a vegetarian broth and added celery to the apples. Last change was just a scaling down to make 6-8 servings, not 16.

I made my usual mashed red-skins and cooked up some gravy from the pan drippings and chicken broth cooked with the neck. In years past, I’ve added the giblets to the gravy after mincing but I skipped that this time. The gravy was, hmm, a little thick. But perfectly seasoned and quite tasty on top of the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing/dressing. I expect it will be tasty on top of whatever else I use it on the next few days. I foresee a turkey salad grilled flatbread sandwich in my future.

Pork with Roasted Tomato Salsa

Basically, this recipe from Steamy Kitchen.

Differences, based on what I had handy:

2 butterflied boneless pork pieces (loin? chop? I forget) and spicy brown mustard instead of Dijon. One Roma and 3 Campari tomatoes (which are smaller than Romas). Added 1/2 cup of corn to the salsa.

Differences, because I was too lazy to go look at the recipe*:

My salsa was tomatoes, corn, 2 green onions (white parts and small bit of green) basil, salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne. I cooked the tomatoes in a saute pan with a bit of olive oil and garlic then took the tomatoes out and added the corn (which was cooked on the cob then cut off earlier in the week) to get a little garlic infusion.

We ate this with whole wheat rolls and some fingerling potatoes (not pictured/ leftovers). It was quite tasty, even if I missed half the ingredients in the salsa.

*This, if anything, would justify having an iPad. Why? Because my laptop is a 17 inch wide-screen monster. With an iPad, I could just slip it behind a plastic cookbook cover (for protection) and conserve counter space but actually follow the recipe.

Winnah Winnah Chicken Dinnah

In an effort to save time this week, I purchased a family pack of chicken breasts yesterday with the plan to marinate them in various sauces and grill or broil them before slicing and serving over salad greens (harvested from our garden) for lunches.

Step one: trim the fat. The family pack was not my usual brand of Amish-grown chicken so I spent more time than I liked trimming off all the excess fat. I considered weighing the trims but decided that was being too anal. After I trimmed it all down, I pounded the breasts to a more even thinness. Chris had offered to grill them up after the sun went down so I thought this would speed the process.

Step two: marinate. We had about 1/3 of a bottle of this fajita seasoning marinade left so I put that in with two of the breasts.

For the next group, I used some of a mojo sauce marinade that Chris had found. Its the same brand as the fajita and its really not my favorite brand as they are all made with high fructose corn syrup. Today, he found the brand we normally buy, Goya Mojo Criollo at a new little market on Waverly (just south of Saginaw, behind Walgreens).

For the last group, I mixed Dijon mustard, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika with garlic powder.

Marinated overnight, I decided to have Chris grill it up and I would use some of it for dinner tonight. On a whim, I bought these new Fold-it things from Flat Out during my speedwalk shopping trip through Meijer last week. Basically a flat bread with a built-in hinge to make a sandwich, I picked up the Rosemary & Olive Oil variety and immediately knew I’d be doing something with caramelized onions.

Tonight, I sliced up 1 1/2 Vidalia onions, heated up 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter then added the onions, letting them cook slowly until they were goldeny brown and sweet:

After these were done, I chopped up some cilantro from the jungle. Heat 1 Fold-it in a non-stick skillet. Top with a little shredded cheese and let melt. When the chicken comes off the grill, slice it. Add to the flat bread and top with cilantro and caramelized onions. You could also consider a little pineapple, grilled maybe…

Now the question is, which marinated chicken variety would go best?

Chicken Roulette

Well, that would require that I be able to tell them apart. I am pretty sure we both ended up with Mojo marinated chicken but uh, you can see my dilemma.

It was good, no matter what. Bodes well for future lunches.

Garlicky Rosemary Chicken




Earlier Chris was sending me texts, asking what I wanted for dinner. I said I wanted lobster. And wine. On a boat on the ocean.

Instead we had chicken, rice and balsamic green beans. I also made a quick pan sauce with lemon juice, rosemary and red onion. Good in concept only okay in execution.

But I did take a couple of pics using the new Droid from which I am also posting this.

Salad Days

I love salads and I wish I made them more often. Nothing too fancy, just a mix of lettuces, some chopped veggies and a little crunchy topper. I sometimes think about more advanced salads or non-traditional salads like the roasted beets and goat cheese type that I love. For awhile Chris was making me a salad several days a week and bring it to me at work. But that goes in streak and we’ve been on the “off streak” for a while now.
So, tonight, with no protein in the fridge looking to be cooked, Chris mentioned he’d cooked some chicken earlier in the week for salads so maybe I could do up salads. And it sounded pretty good to me.
Clearly, there is no recipe involved here. We had a bag of romaine and a plastic box of field greens. I took a few cups of each and combined them with diced carrot, bell pepper, green onion, red onion* (sliced very thin), and tomatoes. Add to that a handful of dried cranberries and another handful of sweet n’ spicy pecans from Trader Joe’s and we had ourselves a salad. My one rule: Always, always always re-wash your lettuces. Even if the bag says ready-to-go! Between internet horror stories of frogs in bags o’ lettuce and occasionally floppy texture of bagged lettuce, its worth the extra step, in my book. At the very list, your salad will be fresher tasting with more crunch.

I also like to a salad as above but with sunflower seeds, a bleu cheese crumble and ranch dressing. A favored variation of the green lettuce salad is spinach, mandarin oranges, red onions* and a lite Caesar style dressing. Both of these seem to combine all my favorite flavors and textures.

Normally, I like to add my dressing to the bowl and toss it all together. You use less dressing this way without any bald spots in the salad. I didn’t do that tonight because I didn’t know what variety Chris would like. Of course, we ended up both using the  same kind: Asiago peppercorn!

The best thing about making this salad today is that it was the first opportunity to use the salad bowl and tossers given to me as a wedding shower gift.

So cute!! I feel like I need to have a salad party now! And a pizza party since we also got a pizza stone. And I still want to have a pasta party sometime to use my pasta attachments for the Kitchen-Aid.

To go with the salad, I, at the last minute, decided to make some bruschetta. I just brushed a couple slices of bread (multi-grain artisan) with garlic olive oil, topped them with diced tomato and a little shredded cheese and dried basil then under the broiler for 2 minutes.

*I swear that red onions have gotten a lot hotter over the last few years. These are supposed to the best suited for salads but man oh man sometimes they haunt me all day. I am hoping this is a variation in onion varieties and not a sign that I am getting old.  To get around this, I find that the thinner the slice, the easier for my esophagus.