Sunday, November 29, 2009

English cottage pie

I did a search for recipes a few weeks ago using Guinness...I bought a 6-pack this summer to make that cake (which was fantastic), but we don't drink Guinness. It's been sitting in my fridge since then.
This was a good recipe, then, because it got rid of some of the Guinness, and also our leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving. And, it was totally easy and really tasty.

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, dinced
3 carrots, diced
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. thyme
1 c. beef broth
1 c. Guinness
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 lb. cheddar cheese
mashed potatoes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef for a few minutes. Add carrots and onions and sauté until the beef is cooked through. Mix in flour and herbs. In a bowl, combine the beef broth, Guinness and tomato paste. Add to the skillet, and simmer for 15 minutes. Spoon into a 9-inch pie pan, and top with mashed potatoes. Top with grated cheddar cheese and bake for 25 minutes.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey and rice soup

Um, yum. Really, that's all. We all devoured this.

from Alton Brown (really, can you go wrong with an Alton Brown recipe?)

2 quarts vegetable broth
1 turkey carcass
1 10-ounce box frozen vegetable medley
1/2 cup long-grain white rice, uncooked
2 cups turkey meat, cubed or torn into small pieces
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
2 teaspoons dried thyme (oops, I forgot this. It was totally fine without)
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put the broth and carcass in an 8-quart pot over low heat and bring to a simmer. Cook and cover for 1 hour.
Remove the carcass.
Add the vegetables, rice, turkey meat, Old Bay, and thyme to the pot and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Sweet potato casserole

I like my sweet potatoes to taste like sweet potatoes, with a little bit of stuff added in. So when I looked at the recipe my Gran wanted me to use this year, it looked too sweet to me. I went searching, realized they were probably all to sweet for my liking, and so I adapted this one.

from Pioneer Woman

6 to 8 cups sweet potatoes (I microwaved mine, then scooped out the flesh until I had 8 cups. Took 4-5 sweet potatoes)
1 c. milk
1/2-1 c. sugar (I used 3/4 c. sugar, will probably reduce to 1/2 c. next time. PW calls for 1 c.)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
3/4 stick butter
1 c. pecans
1/2 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar

Add sugar to the sweet potatoes. Now add 1 cup of milk, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mash with potato masher.
Now, in a separate bowl, add 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup pecans, chopped (that means measure a cup of pecans, then chop them), 1/2 cup flour, and 3/4 stick of butter.
With a pastry cutter or fork, mash together until thoroughly combined.
Spread the sweet potato mixture in a regular baking dish, then sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Best turkey brine -- ever

If you're not brining your turkey at Thanksgiving/Christmas/insert holiday here, I make a plea to your cooking sensibilities that you give this a shot next time you need to roast/fry/smoke some poultry.
So, so good. Ernie fried the bird this year, and it was moist and flavorful and generally wonderful all around.

adapted from Emeril

1 cup salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 oranges, quartered
2 lemons, quartered
6 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs rosemary
2-3 sprigs sage (note: I bought one of those little containers of Poultry Seasoning fresh herbs...and just dumped the whole thing in the brine)
1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey

Mix the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water. Add rest of ingredients, then pour over turkey. Let sit overnight in the fridge.
Then drain, rinse, pat dry, and cook the way you'd like.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Roasted garlic

This is really more about procedure than a recipe. I'm using it today for roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Can also be spread on bread, or mixed with pasta and parm cheese. Or, you know, whatever you'd like to do with your garlic.

Whole head of garlic
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel away outer layers of paper on garlic, but leave skin on each clove intact. Cut a little bit off the top.
Put in muffin pans or on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, cover each head with foil.
Roast 30-40 minutes, until soft. Let cool, then can pop each clove from its skin. Yum.

Old fashioned pumpkin pie

This is my go-to pumpkin pie recipe, which might have been helpful BEFORE Thanksgiving. In any case, here you go. Good at any time of year, honestly.

adapted from Simply Recipes

2 cups of pumpkin purée
1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 good crust (see pâte brisée recipe)

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Mix sugars, salt and spices in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and add to the bowl. Stir in the pumpkin purée. Stir in milk. Whisk all together until well incorporated.
Pour into pie shell and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 350°F. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Pecan pralines

Adapted from Paula Deen

4 cups whole pecans
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. cinnamon
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl combine pecans, brown sugar, and heavy cream. Spread into a square baking pan, sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until coating is dry, and slightly crystallized, stirring once. Remove from oven to cool and stir once more. If not serving immediately, store in an airtight container.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Pineapple Rice with Arugula

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks. This was really good, relatively easy and lower in fat with some modifications of the original recipe. Heidi says it makes good leftovers but as it isn't lunchtime yet, I can't say for certain but I'm sure it will be good.

8 oz can crushed pineapple in 100% juice
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp or so of chili paste (I use Sambal Olek)
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1' piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

4 handfuls arugula

2 cups cooked brown rice, room temperature (I use TJs frozen rice)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 medium red onion (or use shallots), peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup cashews, roasted/toasted and chopped
4 ounces tempeh, cut into little bits and pan-fried (shrimp would be excellent here)
2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1" cubes

Combine first 6 ingredients in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and warm gently without boiling or simmering. In a large bowl, add the arugula and splash of the pineapple sauce. Stir until leaves are well-coated.

In a large frying pan, spray with cooking spray and add tempeh. Cook until browned and set aside. In same pan, add red onions and sautee until slightly translucent and lightly browned. Add pineapple and cook until heated through and lightly browned. Add rice, cashews, seitan and reserved sauce. Stir to coat all ingredients and pour over arugula. Stir well to combine and serve immediately. This would be good a room temp but we ate it hot. Serves 4 with 553 kcals and 6 g fiber.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Granola with Almonds and Dried Fruit

Adapted from Mark Bittman and Nigella Lawson.

5 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup millet (uncooked)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup slivered almonds
1 Tbs cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
dash salt
1/2 cup maple syrup (I used grade A--it's the only kind I have)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tbs canola oil
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried currants

Preheat oven to 310 degrees. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet (or 2, I probably should have used 2) with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients down to the salt and mix well. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together oil, syrup and applesauce. Pour over oat mixture and stir well to coat. Pour granola onto baking sheet(s) and spread out into an even layer. Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes to promote even browning. If you use only one baking sheet, it will take about 30 minutes. Pour in dried fruits and stir. Return baking sheet to oven for another 10 minutes and check for doneness. You want it toasty and brown but not burnt. Return to oven for additional 10 minutes if need be. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month. 16 half-cup servings: 220 kcals and 4.8 grams of fiber.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Festive Cranberry-Pineapple Salad

From: Kraft Foods

I'm not usually a big fan of Jello salads, but my mom made this a couple of times last year around the holidays and it was really good. This could be a dessert or a side dish. It would also make a good dish for a pot-luck and is a nice twist on the traditional cranberry sauce.

1 can (20oz) crushed pineapple
2 pkg (4-servings each) or 1 pkg (8 servings) Raspberry or Cherry Jello mix
1 can (16 oz) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 medium apple, small dice
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Drain pineapple, reserving liquid in a 1-qt measuring cup. Remove 1 Tbsp of the crushed pineapple and set aside for garnish. Add enough cold water to reserved liquid to measure 3 cups; pour into large saucepan. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Add gelatin; stir at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Add cranberry sauce; stir until well blended. Pour into a large bowl. Refrigerate 1.5 hours or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg white).

Stir in remaining pineapple, apples and walnuts; stir gently until well blended. Pour into medium serving bowl.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Top with reserved crushed pineapple just before serving.

Pumpkin Ravioli in Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Adapted from Martha Stewart.

Here's the secret to this recipe: use won ton wrappers to make the ravioli. I'm sure I could have found pasta sheets at Whole Foods or something but won ton skins are already pre-cut into little squares making it very easy to assemble your raviolis.

1 cup pureed pumpkin, or butternut squash
1 teaspoon light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated parmessan cheese
Pinch of nutmeg (freshly grated if you can)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pkg won ton wrappers (I used NaSoya)
1/2 stick unsalted butter (next time I'll cut back to 3 tbs)
1 tablespoon freshly chopped sage leaves

For the ravioli filling: combine pumpkin/squash puree, egg, S&P, nutmeg, cheese and brown sugar and whisk to combine; set aside. On a large cutting board, remove 4 skins and place 1 tsp of filling in the center of each skin. Lightly brush water on the around the filling and gently place a won ton skin on top. Press gently around the filling and try to allow air bubbles to escape without squishing the filling out the side. Use decorative cookie cutter (I used a fluted cutter) to cut raviolis and remove excess won ton skin. Place ravioli on a wax paper-lined tray in a single layer. Once all raviolis are assembled and cut to your liking, place them in the freezer for 30 minutes.

I saw a number of comments re: using won ton skins in lieu of pasta and the concern about the raviolis falling apart in boiling water. Thus, I took the advice from many posts encouraging the use of a steamer for the raviolis. I would recommend that you spray the steamer basket with cooking spray before placing the raviolis on it because they may stick (also spray your tongs). Steam for 3-4 minutes and carefully place inside an oven-safe vessel (spray this, too) and put in an oven set on 250 degrees. While last batch of raviolis are steaming, place butter in a light-colored sautee pan and swirl over medium-high heat until browned. Remove from heat and add sage (be careful--it pops!) and gently add raviolis. Stir gently until all raviolis are coated in the butter sauce. Serve immediately. I sprinkled mine with a grating of parmesan cheese and served with a green salad and warm ciabatta rolls. Serves 4 (6 raviolis per person).

**Using this method of making raviolis with 2 won ton skins per ravioli results in leftover pumpkin filling. I put mine in the freezer to use at a later date. Next time I plan to use one won ton skin per ravioli and will fold over into a triangle and then cut with a fluted cookie cutter to make half moon-shaped raviolis. This will result in less wasting of won ton skin goodness and more raviolis to go around.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Turnip, Potato and Onion Soup

Adapted from: Simply Recipes, originally from Food and Wine Magazine

I know this might not SOUND like a tasty soup, but it was really good. It tasted like potato-leek soup, and was thick and creamy with a minimal amount of fat. I was sort of liberal with my adaptations with this, based on what I had in the house. I put the original recipe here so you can figure out what adaptations you want to make. I didn't have nearly the quantity of turnips called for, so I decreased the amount of chicken stock so it wouldn't be too thin. I had hakurai turnips, which are small and round, like white radishes. I'm not sure what the difference in flavor would be with regular turnips, but it was quite tasty the way I made it.

6 Tbsp unsalted butter (I used 2 Tbsp)
4 medium onions, thinly sliced (I used 2 softball-sized yellow onions)
3 pounds fresh, young turnips, peeled and thinly sliced (I used 2 small bunches of white hakurai turnips)
1 1/2 pounds of Russet baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (I used fingerling)
6 Cups of chicken stock* (I used 4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup finely shredded basil for garnish (I skipped)
Splash of cream


1 In a large heavy stockpot or casserole, melt the butter until it foams. When the foam subsides, add the onions and cook over moderate heat until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the turnips and potatoes and stir to coat with the butter. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

2 Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.

3 Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until perfectly smooth (I used an immersion blender).(I added a splash of cream to the soup while I was blending it, because I had some on hand). Return the soup to the pot and season with salt and the nutmeg. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and garnish with the basil before serving.

Serves 8.