Sunday, November 27, 2016

Turkey Tetrazzini

This year I decided to work on my post-Thanksgiving food plan.  I always end up with a hunk of turkey that I nibble the edges of for multiple days before it finally makes its way into the trash.  And that seems like such a waste.  And this year I also had a container of homemade turkey stock left over.  So I finally caved and made this great cafeteria staple of yesteryear.  And it was just as comforting and creamy as I remember from the days when lunch was less than $5.

Turkey Tetrazzini

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
¾ pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup medium dry sherry
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1¾ to 2 cups turkey or chicken stock
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 cups chopped turkey
½ cup frozen petite green peas
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
12 ounces linguine, cooked until al dente
¼ cup Progresso Italian breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium-high heat and add the shallots and mushrooms.  Cook until the mushrooms give up their liquid, then add the garlic.  Add the sherry and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces by three-quarters, 4 to 5 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour all over, then stir to combine.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the flour smells nutty.

Pour in the broth, stir and continue to cook until the sauce is nice and thick, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the mascarpone cheese and stir until it melts into the mixture.  Add the turkey, peas, and Parmesan.  Stir until everything is well combined, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the linguine and stir to combine. If the mixture is too thick, add in some additional broth.  Pour the mixture into a large casserole dish and even out the surface. Sprinkle on the breadcrumbs and dot with butter. Bake until the crumbs are golden brown and the casserole is bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Alton Brown: Cranberry Sauce Molds

Can you tell I was feeling nostalgic?  Come on, guys!  Wiggly cranberry jellies?  I know I'm not the only person who was eating those canned molds as a child.  Well, at least Alton and I understand.  Although I did decide not to take it quite as far as making them in actually used cans.  These half-rounds are prettier I think.  And in order to find a can, I'd have to sacrifice the gelatinous contents to the garbage disposal gods, so it worked out better this way.

Note: These turned out a bit tarter than I generally like.  But I have an insatiable sweet tooth.  So it may just be me.

Cranberry Sauce Molds
Adapted from Alton Brown

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup 100% cranberry or pomegranate juice
1 cup honey (12 ounces by weight)
1 ounce crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1 pound fresh cranberries (approximately 4 cups)
Grated rind of one orange
2 tablespoons cognac

Combine the orange juice, cranberry juice, honey and ginger in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the cranberries, orange rind, and cognac and increase heat to medium, cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens. As it thickens, drop the temperature to low, to prevent splattering. Do not cook for more than 15 minutes, as the pectin will start to break down and the sauce will not set as well.

Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.  Carefully spoon the cranberry sauce into a 3-cup mold. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.

Once the cranberry sauce has cooled, overturn the mold and slide out the sauce. Slice and serve.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Shutterbean: Maple Bourbon Pumpkin Butter

You thought I was done making jams and jellies?  Well, shows what you know.  And the fact that I made a crap ton of this before I realized you can't actually seal these in a boiling water bath shows what I know.  Something about being so thick you can't kill all the bacteria.  Darn non-industrial kitchen.  But as luck would have it, you can certainly throw these non-sealed jars in the freezer (assuming you actually have any room in said freezer).  Or just eat it really fast.  That works, too.

Maple Bourbon Pumpkin Butter

2 sugar pie pumpkins, cut in half & de-seeded
1¼ cups brown sugar
¾ cup maple syrup
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of kosher salt
Juice of 1 lemon
3 ounces bourbon

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place pumpkin cut side down on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until pumpkins are thoroughly cooked. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Scrape the cooked pumpkin from the skins and place in a blender. Process for about 2-3 minutes, until pumpkin in velvety smooth. Transfer puree to a large saucepan and add brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine and finish with the juice of one lemon. Heat pumpkin mixture over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not let any burn at the bottom of the pan. Slowly add in the bourbon, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Add additional maple syrup or lemon juice to taste, if needed.

Let mixture cool and transfer to clean jars. Pumpkin butter will last up to one month in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer.

Makes 6 half-pint jars

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Bon Appétit: Pumpkin Spice Icebox Cake

I absolutely got roped into making this cake after watching a Facebook video of it.  That's how Bon Appétit sucks you in.  They post this delicious looking recipe, and sure enough, you're pulling the ingredients out of your pantry before you even realize what you're doing.  And then you're eating this wonderfully sloppy mess that tastes like fall and looks like redneck cooking at its finest, and all is right with the world.

Pumpkin Spice Icebox Cake
From Bon Appétit magazine, November 2016

2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise, or 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
2 cups heavy cream
Kosher salt
1¼ cups pumpkin purée
½ cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup mascarpone or sour cream, at room temperature
⅓ cup sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
12 (5x2-inch) graham crackers
2 ounces strong coffee or espresso, room temperature
Pecan brittle, pecan praline, or chocolate butter toffee bar, chopped (for topping)

Scrape seeds from vanilla beans into a large bowl; reserve pods for another use. Add cream and a pinch of salt to bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat until stiff peaks form.

Whisk pumpkin pureé, brown sugar, mascarpone, condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fold 1½ cups whipped cream into pumpkin mixture until combined and no streaks of white remain.

Using a spatula or spoon, smear a thin layer of remaining whipped cream in the center of a large serving plate (make sure it’s big enough so 3 graham crackers can cover it). Place 3 graham crackers, side by side with the long sides touching, over cream. Lightly brush tops with coffee. Spread ¾ cup pumpkin mixture evenly over crackers. Top with ½ cup whipped cream and spread evenly to edges. Repeat with remaining layers, ending with whipped cream. Chill, uncovered, until crackers have softened, at least 3 hours and up to 6. Top with chopped brittle before serving.

Makes 8 servings

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Shockingly Delicious: Spicy Fresh Garbanzos

So I was walking through the grocery store today when this bin of fresh garbanzo beans steps right out in front of me.  And I'm like, excuse me, I've never seen you here before.  And they're like, yeah, I know, but we're a delicious alternative to edamame.  And I'm like, seriously?  And they're like, seriously.  So I grabbed a bag full, and you know what?  They weren't lying.

Spicy Fresh Garbanzos

2 teaspoons olive oil
6 ounces fresh garbanzo beans in the shell (about 2½ ounces shelled beans)
Sprinkle of chili powder
Sprinkle of ground cumin
Sprinkle of salt

Heat oil in a small frying pan. Add shelled beans and stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes, adding seasonings at the end of the time. Stir to mix everything well and coat the beans with the seasonings, and serve in a little bowl.

Makes 2 servings

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Gourmet: Roast Squabs with Porcini and Country Bread Salad

Okay, before we go any further, I will confess to being incredibly pleased with myself for actually locating squabs (aka pigeons) and making something with them.  Based on the number of annoying pests infesting every train station in the city, I'm at a loss for why we aren't eating more of these tender little birds, but hey, I'm doing my part.  And anything including the words garlic confit immediately has my attention.  Not a lot of meat here, but hey, you have a whole one to yourself.  And that's what really matters.

Note:  I added some chicken stock to the "bread salad" to make it more "stuffing".  Because that's what it should really be.  Stuffing.

Roast Squabs with Porcini and Country Bread Salad
From Gourmet magazine, October 2001

12 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 (10-inch) round or oval sourdough loaf (1½ pounds), crust discarded
9 fresh porcini mushrooms (cèpes; ¾ pound), trimmed
3 (1-pound) squabs
3 large sprigs fresh thyme
3 tablespoons Garlic Confit Purée
6 tablespoons strained duck fat (from Garlic Confit Purée)
⅓ cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Bring 2 cups water, garlic, and 1 teaspoon sea salt to a boil, then drain in a colander. Blanch garlic in same manner 2 more times.

Cut bread into ¼-inch-thick sticks and toast on a baking sheet in middle of oven until pale golden, about 6 minutes. Leave oven on.

Peel stems of porcini with a sharp small knife just until white flesh is exposed, then quarter mushrooms lengthwise.

Pat squabs dry and season generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Put a sprig of thyme in cavity of each squab and divide garlic confit among cavities. Tie legs of squabs together with kitchen string and fold wings back.

Heat 2 tablespoons duck fat in a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown squabs in 2 batches, turning, about 5 minutes, transferring to a plate and reserving skillet.

Add 1½ more tablespoons duck fat to skillet and sauté porcini in 2 batches over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes (add another 1½ tablespoons duck fat to skillet for second batch). Stir in blanched garlic, toasted bread, and salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.

Put a 13- by 9-inch metal baking pan on bottom rack of oven (to catch drips) and arrange squabs, breast sides up, in a small circle (without touching) on middle rack of oven directly above baking pan. Roast squabs, carefully basting once with remaining tablespoon duck fat, 15 minutes. Replace baking pan with skillet of bread salad, positioning it directly under birds. Roast squabs and bread salad until an instant-read thermometer inserted in fleshy part of a thigh (avoid bone) registers 155°F for medium meat and mushrooms in bread salad are tender, about 5 minutes. (If mushrooms are not tender, roast bread salad 5 to 8 minutes more.) Transfer squabs to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes, then halve lengthwise with poultry shears or a sharp knife.

Toss bread salad with parsley and lemon juice and serve with squabs.

Makes 3 servings

Garlic Confit Purée
12 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 cup rendered duck fat

Bring 2 cups water, garlic, and 1 teaspoon sea salt to a boil in a 1½-quart saucepan, then drain in a colander. Blanch garlic in same manner 2 more times. Dry pan well with paper towels, then add garlic and cover with duck fat. Simmer, uncovered, until garlic is very tender, about 5 minutes. Drain garlic in a sieve set over a bowl, reserving fat, and purée garlic in a food processor to make confit. Cool completely before putting in cavities of squabs.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Alton Brown: Glazed Baby Beets

Does anyone else remember eating those Harvard beets (thought detour: why are they called Harvard beets?) in a glass jar?  We had them every once in a while when I was a kid.  And while at the time I wasn't in love, I've come to appreciate them in a way a child cannot.  They're sweet and sour in a really nice way.  So I'm actually pretty excited that I have managed to find a recipe that turns out a pretty fantastic fresh version.  No, I'm not being sarcastic.  These are yummy.  Give 'em a try.

Glazed Baby Beets
From Alton Brown

20 baby beets, peeled
2 cups apricot juice or nectar
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey

In a large saute pan, add the beets and the apricot juice. Cover and cook on medium high for 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and honey and cook for another 10 minutes. Pull off of the heat and keep covered for an additional 5 minutes.

Makes 4 servings

Friday, November 04, 2016

The Dallas Morning News: Awesome Baked Beans

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a flag football game to go to.  While I will not be playing thanks to my traitor of a bad back, I will certainly be cheering from the sidelines.  I will also be participating in the huge pot luck beforehand, where we stuff our faces in preparation for all the millions of calories we will expend during to the game.  And what better to accompany the brisket and sausage feast but baked beans.  Baked beans covered in bacon.  You heard me.  And stuffed with more beef.  Because I can't leave well enough alone.

Note: This lovely dish may also be assembled in a cooker of slow foods, where it should rest on low for approximately three hours, whereupon it should be sprinkled with cooked bacon batons.  Easy peasy.

Awesome Baked Beans
From The Dallas Morning News

1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup mix
2 (16-ounce) cans regular or bacon-flavored baked beans
4 strips bacon

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large skillet, melt the butter.  Brown the beef with the Worcestershire sauce.  When cooked through, remove from the skillet and drain the fat.  In a large bowl, combine the meat, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, soup mix, and beans and place in an 8x8-inch baking dish.  Top with bacon strips.

Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.  If necessary, run the dish under the broiler to crisp the bacon before serving.

Makes 8 servings