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Thanksgiving Feasting Favorites

24 Nov

Although tradition dominates the Thanksgiving feast, leaving little room for variation much less something entirely new, here are a few favorites and tips to stir up inspiration prior to the big week ahead.

COOKING THE BIRD

For a turkey deep in flavor and a moist, yet firm consistency, try following the award-winning Judy Bird technique inspired by the roast chicken made famous by the late Judy Rodgers at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. (See my post here about the chef, her philosophy and restaurant and her recipe for Salmon with White Beans, Bacon and Red Wine.)

NOTE: I do not follow Step 7 and start the bird in the oven breast side down.

Sage and Bay Salt Dry Brine
Sage and Bay Salt Dry Brine

The turkey is dry brined for three days although I have done it for much less with equally good results. Here is a tasty dry brine recipe.

APPETIZERS

Ellen's Nuts
Ellen’s Nuts
Rustic Bakery Meyer Lemon and Chickpea Spread
Meyer Lemon and Chickpea Spread, recipe from Rustic Bakery
Baked Rosemary Beet Chips
Baked Rosemary Beet Chips, by Minimalist Baker
Crab Cake Bites
Crab Cake Bites, from Savory Simple
Artichokes
from The Real Deal Marin

 ACCOMPANIMENTS

Tyler Florence Mashed Potatoes
Tyler Florence Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Savory Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Creamed Pearl Onions
Thomas Keller’s Creamed Pearl Onion, via Smitten Kitchen
Ina Garten Spinach Gratin
Ina Garten Spinach Gratin via The Food Network

STOCK and GRAVY

How to Make Stock, A video tutorial with simple instructions from Mario Batali on Food 52.

How to Make Gravy, from The New York Times Cooking

DESSERT

Although no dessert would be shunned, Apple Pie is a must. If you have any doubt, read this, and you may get lured into making it a regular closer to your feast too, if it isn’t already.

    Butter Pie Crust, from Epicurious

    Crust Tipsfrom Joy the Baker

    THE Apple Pie, inspired by Kierin Baldwin

    Ala Mode, a basic vanilla ice cream recipe

    Best Apples for Piefrom Baking Bites

LEFTOVERS

Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage Hollandaise, by Giada De Laurentiis
Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage Hollandaise, by Giada De Laurentiis
Turkey Tetrazzini
Turkey Tetrazzini, from The Real Deal Marin 
Loaded Turkey Panini
Loaded Turkey Panini, from Pinch of Yum

 (This is a good framework that you can alter based on what you have leftover.)

If you try one of these recipe, please let me know what you think in the comments section below. Or take a photo and post it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #realdealmarin.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Summertime

23 May

Click the image for recipes.

SUMMER STRAWBERRY MUFFINS

Strawberry Muffins

 JUICY SLIDERS

Juicy Sliders

Grilled or Baked Herb Chicken with Green Aioli

Herb Chicken with Aiolias a Main Dish

Herb Chicken with Aioli Appetizeror an Appetizer

The Best of the Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate Chip Cookie

 Creamy Homemade Ice CreamCreamy Homemade Ice Cream

The Amazing Artichoke – Pan Roasted with Garlic, Basil Mayonnaise

20 May

My first introduction to artichokes was an unpleasant one. Just after college, I was invited to have dinner with my friend and his parents at their home in a high-end New York suburb. They had the kind of dining room table that is perfect for Thanksgiving but otherwise does not promote intimate conversation. We each had a side on which to hold court.

Artichoke

To start off the meal, we were presented with an artichoke, an unusual budding flower head that was entirely unfamiliar. Certainly New Jersey, my birth place, provides impressive crops of corn on the cob and beefsteak tomatoes, but these? Since 100 percent of all artichokes sold commercially in the United States are grown in California, it’s not a wonder that we had never crossed paths, but still.

What could I do but mouth a plea of “Help…!” to my friend across the expanse of table. He got the hint and I was able to imitate my way through navigating this tricky thistle. It was equally disconcerting when asparagus, another flowering perennial plant species that had not seen its way to my plate before, was served as a side dish. It was a challenging dinner.

Although neither item won me over first time around, both have become favorites, especially considering Castroville, the artichoke capital of the world, is now a not too distant neighbor.

PURCHASING

Artichokes are readily available in spring and fall. Select globes that are deep green and have petals that are tightly closed rather than splayed out and dehydrated looking. They should feel somewhat heavy for their size and will squeak when squeezed.

Artichokes

To store, sprinkle with a little water and refrigerate in an airtight plastic bag. Do no wash before storing. They should last a week.

PREPARATION

With a sharp or serrated knife, slice off the top 1 inch and most of the stem of the artichoke, snap off the small, tough outer leaves and with scissors, snip off thorny tips.

From there, go through the following steps:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Immediately add to lemon water where they will keep in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days until ready to cook.

Here’s to enjoying them while you’re young!

Pan Roasted Artichokes

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 lemons, quartered
  • 4 medium to large artichokes
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 to 6 peeled garlic cloves, crushed

PREPARATION

  1. Fill a large bowl with water and squeeze in the juice from the four quarters of one lemon.
  2. With a sharp or serrated knife, slice off the top 1 inch and most of the stem of the artichokes, pull off the small, tough outer leaves and with scissors, snip off the thorny tips.
  3. Cut in half or quarters lengthwise.
  4. Separate the first few, purple-tinged leaves in the center from the base by pulling them away from the choke with your fingers.
  5. Use a spoon or melon baller to scrape the fuzzy center from the choke. (See slide show above.)
  6. Immediately put artichokes in the lemon water to help avoid discoloration. Keep in the water until ready to cook; they may be stored in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. Just before cooking, spread the artichokes on paper towels, sliced side down, and pat dry.
  7. When ready to cook, heat a large sauté pan over medium-high flame. Warm the olive oil until nearly smoking. Sprinkle the pan generously with salt and pepper.
  8. Carefully place the artichokes sliced side down in the pan. Do not overlap. Season with more salt and pepper and slip the garlic into the spaces between the artichokes.
  9. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally to keep the artichokes from sticking, until they are evenly browned underneath, 6 to 10 minutes. Using tongs, lift 1 or 2 artichokes up to check for doneness.
  10. Add the quarters of the second lemon to the pan, place a piece of foil over the pan and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat and keep covered for 30 to 45 minutes or if longer, briefly re-heat over low flame.
  11. Transfer the artichokes to a serving platter. Squeeze the juice from the cooked lemon wedges into the pan and whisk to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Pour the juice over the artichokes, garnish with the remaining lemon quarters and serve with Garlic, Basil Dip.

Adapted from: The Food Channel

 

Garlic, Basil Dip

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

PREPARATION

Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Note: Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Source: Epicurious

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day

8 May

Jamie Oliver Blog of the MonthIt is an honor to have been selected April’s Blog of the Month by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution team. I became a fan of his before he was known as a food activist when a friend raved about a recipe she’d made from her new cookbook The Naked Chef. Once I got past what I assumed to be a typical literal reaction and was relieved of a somewhat disturbing image, I got to hear in detail about the book’s amazing but simple recipes like Rosemary, Garlic, Lemon MarinadePork with Peaches and Huge Yorkshire Puddings.

These days, Jamie Oliver is well-known for his pioneering efforts to address the childhood obesity crisis in the U.S. and Great Britain. He is a proponent of cooking in a simple,  unadorned way (hence the nickname) mirroring my own Make It Simple Cooking Philosophy which is to:

Stock up on whole staples and fresh produce and proteins, use the guidelines of recipes and your intuition, enjoy what you create and worry not about perfection.

FOOD REVOLUTION DAY – FRIDAY, MAY 16

Food Revolution DayNext Friday, May 16th is FOOD REVOLUTION DAY, Jamie Oliver’s global call-to-action which he hopes will inspire the cooking and eating of good, real food and raise awareness of how what we eat affects our health and well-being.

The focus this year is on educating kids about food and where it comes from and equipping them with basic cooking skills.

Healthy diets are critical to healthy lives but our children lack the knowledge to make the right food choices or the skills to create healthy, wholesome and nutritious meals. Jamie Oliver

For a list of ideas on how you and your kids, school, workplace or community can participate and celebrate, click HERE.

GETTING KIDS COOKING

What was the trigger that shifted my son from cooking spectator to once-in-a-while initiator and leader in the kitchen?

Crepes

Had I suggested he make crepes or some other reasonably enticing item on his own, he likely would have insisted that many other priorities took precedence. It was cooking with a small group of classmates for a project that gave him an appreciation for the act of creating something delicious.

If cooking is not a part of the home routine, it is even more imperative that children learn at least the basics of cooking in school.

We need every child to understand where food comes from, how to cook it, and how it affects their body. This is about setting kids up with the knowledge they need to make better food choices for life. Jamie Oliver

Otherwise, as Alice Waters, the founder of The Edible Schoolyard Project who was recently honored one of Time Magazines most influential people of 2014, has said “We’ll pay out back if we don’t pay up front.

Find a selection of Jamie Oliver’s kid friendly recipes HERE.

MORE ABOUT JAMIE OLIVER

PRIZE WINNING TED TALK: Teach Every Child About Food                 

Jamie Oliver TED Talk

RESOURCES for TEACHERS: Toolkits for Change                                     

Jamie Oliver Toolkits for Change

“These toolkits arm you with facts, empower you with ideas and support you in making real change on the ground. The Food Revolution Team has worked with experts in the field to create toolkits specific to a number of different issues facing our schools. They are meant to be used, printed, shared and passed on! Together we have an opportunity to support schools in making sustainable change.”

BIG RIG TEACHING KITCHEN                                                                         

Big Rig Teaching Kitchen The mission of this 70-foot long mobile kitchen is to, through free teacher training, basic home cooking classes and take-home recipes, improve health and spread food education. The 40 week journey to underserved communities across the state of California winds up its tour in San Diego this month. See a schedule of events HERE.

If you’re celebrating Food Revolution Day next Friday, please share your plans below in the comments!

 

Shrimp Sauté with Tomatoes and Kale on Quinoa

4 Dec

Shrimp SauteThis is a great all-season recipe that handles many variations, an especially useful feature for making a last-minute meal and avoiding a trip to the store. Raw frozen shrimp is available at most supermarkets and is a good thing to have on-hand in the freezer. Check that it’s peeled and deveined to spare you the task. You can take or leave the mushrooms. Spinach can stand in for kale. Pasta can replace quinoa. And in summer, whole cherry tomatoes are a great alternative for the canned San Marzanos. Whatever way you go, it’s full of flavor and an excellent leftover.

For defrosting the shrimp, the package instructions typically indicate that a slower thaw is preferred but the quick way works fine too. The easiest way is to put the shrimp in a bowl in the morning, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate until dinner. If they’re still slightly frosty, you can place them in a colander, rinse with water and then let drain before putting in the bowl to marinate. For the quick thaw, run under cold water in a colander for 6-8 minutes and then drain and proceed.

Because you’ll be adding ingredients every couple of minutes, it helps to take the time to pull everything together before you start.

Begin with quinoa or pasta preparation. Then marinade the shrimp.

Shrimp

After sautéing onions, mushrooms, garlic, herbs and salts, crush the tomatoes individually over the pan.

Shrimp and Quinoa Saute

Next add greens, either kale or spinach, and blend in slowly until wilted.

Shrimp and Quinoa Saute

Add the raw shrimp last, heating it in the sauce just until it turns pink.

You’ll find this sauce is even better the next day. Keep the quinoa stored separately. Enjoy!

Shrimp Sauté with Tomatoes and Kale on Quinoa

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 25 mins
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

Quinoa or Pasta

Start by preparing quinoa (here is a great basic recipe) or boiling water for pasta.

Shrimp

  • 16 ounces frozen, raw Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher or Herb Salt
  • 1 grind of Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried Thyme
  • Half of a Lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • 8 ounces sliced Mushrooms (8 large/12 small, optional)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 grind of Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano whole peeled Tomatoes
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh Spinach, stems removed, or 10-12 Kale Leaves, stem and rib removed and cut in ribbons
  • 1/2 cup Milk, Cream or combination
  • Fresh Parmesan Cheese (optional)
  • Fresh Basil, sliced (optional)

PREPARATION

  1. Thaw shrimp according to package instructions. See notes in post above.
  2. When defrosted and drained, place in a bowl and toss with olive oil, regular or herb salt, black pepper, thyme, and lemon zest and juice. Optional: Add ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes for an extra kick. Let flavors meld until the sauce is prepared.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan or pot over medium flame and add 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  4. Heat for a minute and add onion. Stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes until slightly soft.
  5. Add mushrooms and sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme and red pepper flakes.
  6. Stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add whole crushed garlic cloves and stir for 30 seconds to infuse flavor.
  8. Crush tomatoes with your hands and add to sauce. Use just the tomatoes and not the liquid. Stir to combine.
  9. Add spinach or kale and stir occasionally for 2-4 minutes until wilted.
  10. Add shrimp and fold into the sauce. Cook until shrimp has just turned pink, about 5 minutes.
  11. Stir in ½ cup milk, cream or a combination and stir for 30 seconds to blend in.
  12. Remove from heat.
  13. Fish out garlic cloves.
  14. Serve over quinoa or pasta.
  15. Sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese and basil.

NOTE: This is a great make-ahead recipe. When ready to serve, just reheat on the stovetop. If you are planning to eat the same day, slightly undercook the shrimp so that they don’t get overdone when reheated. Excellent leftovers.

You might also like:

Sausage Spinach and Tomato Sauce

Sausage, Spinach and Tomato Pasta

Chicken Tetrazzini

Chicken or Turkey Tetrazzini

Thanksgiving: Recipes, Gadgets and Food News

26 Nov

Wordle

EAT

TURKEY

Local Diestel Ranch birds do have that idyllic image tied in. But being fed a 100% vegetarian diet milled right there at the farm and slowly raised in the Sierra Nevada Foothills does increase the price tag.

Diestel

Click on image for more information

Check out this interesting breakdown of what it costs to bring that turkey from farm to feast. A true bargain.

Continue reading

Broccoli Two Ways and Its Showdown with Kale

14 Nov

Not sure why it was the chosen one, but broccoli in my house got an early distinction as the acceptable vegetable, even in an era of a broccoli hating president. It’s easy to steam and mix with a little butter and became the one chicken finger side, in addition baby carrots in a bag, that my kids did not ignore entirely.

Broccoli Melts Butter

Photo illustration from Victors & Spoils

Continue reading

Grilled or Baked Herb Chicken with Green Aioli

3 Jul

If you’re looking for a great, easy option for entertaining this summer, this chicken is juicy, flavorful, and with the accompanying sauce, will not be viewed as same-old ordinary chicken.

Continue reading

Grilled Salmon Marinade and French Kids Eat Everything

25 May

My friend Nat lived in San Francisco when my daughter was born and I was just over the bridge. Since she was the only person I knew living close by who had a baby, we quickly became allies as we dealt with an identity shift and a new life focus.   Continue reading

Sausage, Spinach and Tomato Pasta

29 Apr

Sausage Spinach and Tomato Sauce

This is a favorite weeknight meal with a number of variations. One of the main flavor determinants is the sausage. I like  the Chicken Tuscan Sausage from Woodlands Market in Kentfield, but any handmade chicken, pork or beef sausage works. Continue reading