Friday, November 23, 2012

The Morning After...Leftover Recipes!

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So you have worked like a beaver, eaten like a pig and are now sick as a dog.  Yep, that about sums it up for most of us.  What took me eight hours to prepare and one to consume  kept me up most of the night.  I could feel my poor stomach rumbling and working overtime to get the stuff down the pike.  It is now 2:30 the afternoon after, I am still in my nightgown and if someone mentions the word stuffing, I will snap.  Food is the last thing on my mind but I know at some point I will be hungry again.

This morning when I opened the refrigerator there were all these nicely stalked Glad containers with the leftover loot.  My daughter must have put them together last night while I was catatonic upstairs.  If I am brave, perhaps I will have a bit of everything for dinner tonight except for the stuffing and the pie.  Those two are the real killers for me.  By tomorrow, though, most of us will still have an abundance of turkey, particularly from the parts no one likes.   Sandwiches can only go so far.

Here are five recipes from my turkey leftover repertoire and one for the stuffing.  You know what to do with the pies.









Photo: Ditte Isaber O Magazine

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Etiquette...You All Behave!

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Something worth remembering every year.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


It's that time of the year again...The Family Dinner From Hell.

This is the time when family grudges are aired in anticipation of forgiveness and peace by the time the Christmas holidays come around.

Here are a few tips for hostesses, family members and guests to make the holiday a pleasant one for all involved:

Guests:

Dress appropriately, watch your language, arrive on time and keep your elbows off the table!

Try a little of everything and praise everything that is laid on your plate even if its burned or raw.  Thank your lucky stars you are having a warm meal that someone else cooked for you!

Don't get mesmerized by the football game.  Socialize, talk to others outside your group or family and help your hostess by offering to fix drinks or pass the appetizers.  She will be most grateful.

Talk to the old people. They appreciate every nice gesture we throw their way.

Turn your damn i-phone off and, by all means, don't even consider bringing it to the table!  Texting is NOT an alternative.  Make this sacrifice for world peace...

Stay out of the kitchen. Your hostess is hassled enough without you going in and bombarding her with stories of your last trip to Paris with your new boyfriend.

Don't surprise your hostess with unexpected  "guests of guests".  Call beforehand, make sure it's okay and bring something edible like an extra pie or casserole AND a couple of bottles of wine.



Family Members:

Avoid confrontations, unpleasant surprises and sarcastic comments.  That's all..

Wait!... and serve your little ones before you and everyone else sits down at the table.





Hostesses:

Don't try to cook everything at the last minute.  Be calm, cool and collected by the time your first guest arrives.

Your turkey should be out of the oven at least 1/2 hour before guests arrive and kept warm by tenting it.  Everything should be done by the time the doorbell rings... that includes the gravy.  1/2 hour before serving, stick your casseroles and dressing or stuffing in the oven for warming.

Spend time with your guests and family, that's what this holiday is all about.

Keep the booze light.  Alcohol has a way of un-inhibiting the inhibited and accentuating delusions...

Don't delay the meal waiting for "halftime".  Serve when you are ready!

At this point it's up to the gods of civility.  What will happen is going to happen... you have done your bit.   Don't sweat the small stuff and have a good time!






Have A Happy Stress-Free Thanksgiving!


Top image Google
Cartoons from cartoons.com

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sweet And Sour Onions...Cipolline in Agrodolce II

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Modena's aceto balsamico dates back at least to the 11th century, when a written record reports the delivery of a barrel of the extraordinary vinegar to Emperor Henry III as a coronation gift. For centuries, the aceto was made by the local families only for their own use, with the barrels often a prized inclusion in a young woman's dowry.

Here, the aromatic vinegar is combined with sugar to create a rich sweet-and-sour brown glaze for small onions, a favorite dish both in the birthplace of aceto balsamico and in Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna's neighbor to the north. Serve warm for the best flavor as an accompaniment to roast pork or turkey.

If you want to serve something different this Thanksgiving, try this recipe.   It's a good substitute for the creamed onions I so loved.  If you do, you will not have to worry about making a gravy for the turkey.  Trust me.

A couple of years ago I posted a recipe for Cipolline in Agrodolce that was good but nowhere as delicious and authentic as this one.  Last week I spotted a few boxes of cipollini at the grocery store here in Georgia and, in spite of the price, could not resist the impulse.  Think Manolo Blahnik of the onion world...$3.99 for a box of 4. Yes,  that is right, but you know what? they are worth every penny so I looked inside my cart,  took out a couple of things I really didn't need (like milk),  and picked up a couple of boxes.   On my daughter's birthday I served them with broiled pork chops brushed in the final minutes of cooking with some of the balsamic sauce.  To die for...

Mashed potatoes and a pear tart  rounded up the meal.




If you can't find cipollini go ahead and substitute regular pearl onions, but I strongly suggest you make the effort to try one of the best and sweetest onions you will ever taste.  Yes, and that includes Vidalias. Sorry Southern people, the Italians have you beat on this one.

For past Thanksgiving Menus and recipes, enter the word Thanksgiving in the Search box.


Serves 6


Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. cipolline or pearl onions
  • 2 cups meat stock
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the onions and cook for 30 seconds. Drain and place under cold running water to halt the cooking. Drain again. Using a small, sharp knife, trim off the root ends and slip off the skins. Do not cut the onions too deeply or they will fall apart.

In a large, heavy fry pan over medium heat, combine the onions, stock and butter. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are partially cooked, about 30 minutes.

Uncover the pan and stir in the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, shaking the pan occasionally, until the onions are very tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Add a little warm water if needed to keep the onions moist.

Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm.


Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Italy, by Michele Scicolone (Time-Life Books, 1999).

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving Make Ahead...Cranberry Pear Relish

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This recipe is from Sheila Lufkins who co wrote The Silver Palate Cookbook.  I have made it for many  Thanksgivings but somehow had forgotten all about it.  It is a strong contender for this year's table.

The best thing about it is you can make it in advance and have one less thing to worry about.  It keeps for over a month in the refrigerator.

When choosing pears, either Anjou or Bosc will do, but Anjou pears are juicier.

Ingredients


4 cups (about 1 pound) fresh cranberries, picked over

2 cups sugar

1 cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

2 slightly underripe pears, cored, peeled and cut into 1/3- inch dice


Method

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and stir well. Place pan over medium heat and boil until berries pop open, about 10 minutes. Skim the foam off the surface with a metal spoon and let the relish cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 months. Makes 10 servings.

Lindaraxa Variations: reduce orange juice by 1/2 cup and add port in the same amount

You might also like:

Cranberry Orange Sauce

Cranberry Sauce With Port

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Meyer Lemon Curd Tart

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A couple of weeks ago, when I had the ladies lunch, one of my new friends brought me a bag of freshly picked Meyer lemons from her garden.  I spent sleepless nights trying to decide what to make with them for this was a real treat and one I could not afford to waste.

 

 

My friend had suggested making lemon curd for a cake but I was leaning more towards a tart.   Fortunately,when I checked the recipe I noticed  I had twice the amount of lemons needed to make a tart. My dilemma was solved.  Double the recipe and have your tart and store the rest for a cake down the road.  Unfortunately I tasted so much curd before I canned it I was lucky to end up with four tartelettes instead of the tart. 

 

  

Lemon curd can be canned and also keeps well in the refrigerator if you put it in a glass jar with a tight lid

I am sharing the original recipe but I encourage you to double or triple it for a later use.

Ingredients

For the tart shell:
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
For the lemon curd:
  • 4 lemons, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions  

For the tart shell:


Mix the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Press the dough into a 10-inch-round or 9-inch-square false-bottom tart pan, making sure that the finished edge is flat. Chill until firm.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter 1 side of a square of aluminum foil to fit inside the chilled tart and place it, buttered side down, on the pastry. Fill with beans or rice. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, prick the tart all over with the tines of a fork, and bake again for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool to room temperature.

For the lemon curd:


Remove the zest of the lemons with a vegetable peeler or zester, being careful to avoid the white pith. Squeeze the lemons to make 1/2 cup of juice and set the juice aside. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the sugar and process for 2 to 3 minutes, until the zest is very finely minced. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar and lemon zest. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2-quart saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. The lemon curd will thicken at about 175 degrees F, or just below a simmer. Remove from the heat.

Fill the tart shell with warm lemon curd and allow to set at room temperature.


Recipe adapted from Ina Garten via Food Network
All photos lindaraxa

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Election Night Dinner Party

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If there was a year when I would not have a group of friends over for dinner on election night it would be this one. The battle lines have been drawn and, from what I hear, there might be a few suicides if one's favorite candidate doesn't get elected this time. If you drive around my neighborhood  there are a few discreet  signs up,  all for the same candidate.   In North Georgia, there should be no doubt which one I'm  talking about .  The rest of the neighbors don't dare display their preference for fear their houses might be set on fire.  Whether this is true or not I don't know, but I'm not curious to find out!

In years past I would invite a few friends, both Democrats and Republicans, for dinner to watch the results.   Nothing fancy, just casual fare, lots of ribbing and betting and a fun evening for all, no matter who won. Dinner was served on trays in front of the television set in the library.  I kept it simple, American, and very casual.  Guests helped themselves to drinks from the bar and dinner was served buffet style in the dining room.  Heavy hors d'oeuvre, one main course and dessert.  The main idea was to spend a fun evening together with good friends and comforting food.  The following morning everyone would still be on speaking terms with each other and with their neighbors.  Not this time.

I am sharing below a typical menu from past elections dinners that I won't be cooking this year.   I might just watch a movie, go to bed early and hear the results in the morning.  ( Sure...I will probably be up all night waiting until the last vote is in )

As to the dinner table, my choice would be a blue and white china pattern laid buffet style, white napkins and a solid red centerpiece of carnations and roses, such as the one above.  Otherwise, "white china casual" is your best bet.  Forget the flags!


   
Election Night Dinner Party


Sliced Smoked Salmon On Pumpernickel Toasts
Sour Cream, Dill, Red Onion, Capers & Lemon 

Bacon On A Date

Cheese Straws

 Pumpkin Soup With Pear And Coriander
Served on Demitasse Cups


***


The "21" Club Chicken Hash
Wild Rice
Sauteed Spinach

***
Apple Crisp With Vanilla Ice Cream
or
Butterscotch Pudding


Pumpkin Soup here
The "21 Club Chicken Hash here
Apple Crisp here
Butterscotch Pudding here 

Photo credit: Carolyne Roehm
 

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