Wednesday, November 23, 2011

make-aheads, part 2

How many trips to the grocery store did you make on Wednesday? Sanne and I made three between us. By the time we got back to the house, we were done-zo. If we remembered anything after trip #3, we would live without it. Of course, as soon as we got home, we realized that we needed 3 packages of cream cheese, not 2. OH WELL!
Luckily, I found a recipe for peanut butter pie without cream cheese. So, we elved ourselves away, waiting for Kelly & Kyle's flight to get in. So far, this year's desserts are kicking last year's desserts' butts. And last year's wasn't too shabby.

bourbon pumpkin cheesecake

Sanne made gingersnap cookies for the crust, which were amazing. I'm sure she'll share the recipe another day. Today it's all about pies.

Finished products to follow... Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

the plan

Well, the contents of our dinner has finally been decided upon. After careful thought and much deliberation I present to you, as God is my witness, submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, with liberty and justice for all, our Thanksgiving Day menu:

baked brie appetizer

turkey with lemon sage butter
(aka Kevin)

mashed potatoes w thyme gravy

apple sage stuffing

roasted parsnips & butternut squash
w raisins & maple syrup

broccoli casserole w shallots

cranberry tangerine compote

pumpkin cheesecake
w gingersnap crust

peanut butter pie

apple & cheddar crostata

Are we missing anything? What's on your menu?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

make-aheads, part 1

Sanne was recently gifted a turkey carcass (I know, we all should have friends as nice as hers...). This was very exciting news to me, because although I have had very little time to plan our menu, I have had it in mind that I want to make gravy from scratch, turkey stock and all. Bon Appetit had a step-by-step in their Thanksgiving issue this year, so I set aside a few hours today to make the do-ahead stock for Thursday's meal.

Alls you have to do is cover a carcass with about a gallon of water, bring it to a boil, and then let it simmer for about 3 hours, occasionally skimming the fat...

Then you drain the stock into a sauce pan, and boil it for another hour. Measure out what you'll need for the gravy of Thursday and freeze the rest. Easy! Mmm, and it smells like my Granny & Pop's house during the holidays.

Tonight, we finished up our Thanksgiving shopping. Wednesday night we will make-ahead our desserts!   How are you (or are you?) preparing for Thanksgiving?
What should we name our turkey this year? Sanne says Kevin, I think he looks kind of like a Buster...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

a hug in a bowl

This past weekend I decided to dig out an old favorite. Those of you who have been around for a while may remember this soup that my mom used to make. I realized recently that I haven't made it in probably about a year. As I was looking over the ingredients, I quickly realized why: it's pretty unhealthy. But if your deep into soup season, or just feeling S.A.D. from the lack of sun warming your skin, you might need something a little comforting and indulgent. Like this soup, or a hug.

So here you go, my mom's Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder adapted from a 1980-ish Southern Living cookbook.

You will need:
1 1/2lb boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
1-2 cloves minced garlic
3T butter
1/2c water
2t instant bouillon
1t cumin
2c half & half
8oz monterey jack cheese
1 (14oz)can cream corn
1 4oz can chopped green chilis
1t tobasco (I use about 8x that)
1 med. tomato, chopped

First, cook the first four ingredients in a large soup pot. I started my chicken and then added the next three. Then add water and bring to a boil. Dissolve your bouillon and reduce heat to medium-high. 

Add the rest of the half & half, cumin, tobasco, s+p, corn and chilies. But don't drain the corn or chilies. Let simmer for about 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally so that the bottom doesn't scorch.

Stir in cheese and adjust seasonings.

 Add tomatoes and serve.

For some reason, when I copied this down from my mom years ago, I copied down a doubled version. So when I'm looked at my book and saw "3lb chicken" I just shrugged and dumped it in the pot. So now Sanne and I have a couple containers of this soup in the freezer, waiting for another for a blustery day.


What's your favorite soup?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

apples and cheese revamp

I was looking through my Thanksgiving pinterest board the other day and saw this from Martha Stewart. It's been a while since I gave you an apple recipe, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I watched this video and deceided to be lazy and post it here instead of giving you my own step-by-step. I followed Martha's recipe exactly, anyway.

And here's what came out of my oven:

I don't think I would like it nearly as much without the cheddar in the crust.Perfect for Thanksgiving, eh?


Saturday, November 12, 2011

you guys want some cookies?

This weekend I was in Rhode Island, in back-to-back conferences and conversations about education. It was really awesome, and I made some great connections. But between the schedule and being sick this past week, I was totally drained.

I came home craving soup and a sandwich, and the best chocolate chip cookies. I stopped at the grocery store to grab some necessities, came home and whipped up a totally comforting dinner and desert.

Sage butter is my new favorite thing. A few fresh leaves chopped and sauteed in some butter makes such a delicious difference in those already soul-warming sandwiches. I'm thinking of using it on my turkey this year. For the sandwich, I used monterey jack and some whole wheat bread.

For the cookies, I literally googled "best chocolate chip cookies" and made the first recipe I found. The end.

Now here's some crappy pictures of everything.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Potato and Leek Soup

Nature has already proven it is soup season. The combination of snow just in time for trick or treating, shorter days and the crisp air is perfect for soup and other soul warming comfort foods. We had some leftovers from Mandi's potato and leek pizza, so I decided to make potato and leek soup. It's really easy. 

You'll need leeks...

...and potatoes.

Chop the light green and white parts of the leeks into small slivers.

Ah color gradients...first love as an art major. 

Mandi sauteed some onion and garlic to bacon grease of course.

Add potatoes, leeks, some chicken stock, onions, garlic, and butter.

Bring to a boil and let simmer for 25 minutes. I added salt, pepper, dill and some red pepper flakes for seasoning. Then add some milk and blend well. You can mash with a potato masher for a chunkier version or blend smooth with a food processor an immersion blender. A gift from my amazing friend Eden. <3

so fun to use. 

Oh, and as a last touch I had some fresh corn I cooked and added at the end. It made the soup have a good balance of savory and sweet, with a kick from the red pepper flakes too. I am not sure now if that makes this soup more of a chowda as they say it here...

Garnish with green onion, cheese and bacon.

We have many months of "soup" weather ahead of us. What are some of your favorite soups?


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

potatoes and leeks: the pizza

When I braved the wind and snow (?!) and trekked out to the grocery store on Saturday, I was feeling cold and wet just gross. So I filled my cart with not only what we needed for our stuffing, but also a lot of produce that would make a nice hearty soup. I intended to make a potato leek soup, but on my way to checkout, I spotted this flatbread and had an idea. Well to be fair, I remembered an idea that I had seen somewhere else, but it's more or less the same thing, right?

Pioneer Woman Potato Leek Pizza

you'll need:
pizza crust or flatbread
6 slices thick-cut bacon
1-2 leeks

First, preheat the oven to 500. I know it's high, but potatoes are tricksy. Start cooking your bacon. Cook until almost done, set aside. Dump bacon grease but don't clean the  pan.

Next, chop a few leeks and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. I used the leafy-end; it was still good.

(and it made a great sound when chopped)

Slice potatoes very thin, enough to cover your flatbread so that they are barely overlapping. Season with sea salt. Cover with grated cheese. PW uses mozzarella and goat, we used cheddar and a bit of parmesan.

Then sprinkle with leeks and bacon. Bake for about 8-10 minutes.

Ta-da! It's your new favorite pizza!
Yeah, this one definitely made the rotation. 
How about you? Any non-traditional pizzas you love?