Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Pie

Rich, easy and a show-stopper, this is a recipe that I dreamt up for our Thanksgiving meal, but that I think may actually belong on the Christmas table. My inspiration came from pomegranate bark, where one nestles pomegranate arils in dark chocolate so that the tart juices bursts in contrast to the bitter and sweet.  I'm pleased with the results, but it is incredibly rich, so enjoy in thin slices. If you're worried about the richness, you could reduce one of the ganaches by 1/2, but I recommend keeping the amount of arils consistent regardless.

For the crust:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved, seeds scraped, bean reserved (or sub with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Truffle Ganache:
4 oz semisweet choc
4 oz bittersweet choc
1/2 cup cream
1/2 pomegranate worth of arils

Ganache Glaze:
4 oz bittersweet choc
1 cup cream

For top:
1/2 pomegranate worth of arils

Before you begin:
Preheat the oven to 350.
Remove arils from pomegranate.

For the Crust:
Combine butter, sugar, vanilla seeds, and salt in a large bowl, stir until incorporated. Add flour, stir until just combined and a dough begins to form. Sprinkle dough over the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom (alternately, a shallow pie pan also works just fine). Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes, until brown.

For the Truffle Ganache:
Chop both types of chocolate very finely.  Heat the cream until hot, just before simmering.  Add the chocolate and stir continuously, until the mixture is glossy.  Stir in the pomegranate arils. Pour into crust and chill in fridge for at least 20 minutes, until firm.

For the Ganache Glaze:
Chop chocolate very fine, heat cream until hot, add chocolate and stir until glossy. Pour over chilled truffle filling.

Sprinkle remaining arils on top in a decorative pattern.
Chill in fridge until firm, at least a half an hour but I recommend 2 hours.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup 2

Our poor blog is beyond neglected, perhaps bordering on forgotten, but one year ago I set a reminder to finish and post a follow-up to last year's Thanksgiving Roundup of recipes, so here we are. Hopefully, I've given you enough time for you to plan or adjust your menu and buy the ingredients for some of the worthy offerings below.

Turkey and Stuffing
Crockpot Turkey and GravyA great option if you have a smaller number of people to host this year, or simply don't feel like hauling a full turkey in and out of the oven.

Ancho Turkey: K made an ancho chile turkey in a slow cooker for P their first Thanksgiving away from the desert in Boston.  Email exchanges at the time suggest that this could be accomplished as follows: Season turkey breast with lemon, butter and garlic salt. Cook ancho chiles, garlic and onion together on the stove until browned, transculent, and/or slightly blistered. Blend the mixture into a sauce, and marinate the turkey breast in it overnight.  Cook in a slow cooker, likely 4-5 hours on high. (If this inspires you to find a more exact recipe, please send our way!). You could do the same to a full turkey, and roast it.

Roasted Chestnut Cornbread StuffingLast year I hosted Friends-giving in my cozy Boston home, and this was a perfect New England addition to the table.  I replaced the white bread with cornbread, and would do that again.

Southwestern Green Chile Cornbread StuffingCornbread is best with jalapenos, right?  Cornbread stuffing probably is, too.

Vegetables and Sides
Smoky Scalloped Sweet PotatoesK made these scalloped sweet potatoes last year, and added smoked paprika along with the thyme to make them smoky, spicy and creamy.  She doesn't remember exactly how much paprika, but she strongly suggests you do the same.

String Beans with Ginger and GarlicAnother addition from K's table last year, when her goal was a straightforward, but hearty Thanksgiving meal.  These fit the bill as a simple but flavorful side.

Mary's Cranberry Orange RelishP's mother Mary makes this relish every year, so it's become a staple for us as well.  It's bright with flavor, and great for those who aren't fans of the usual homemade cranberry sauce.

Bejeweled RiceIf you have vegetarians on the guest list, this dish is a good staple to have on your table - with the opportunity for a stunning presentation as well.

Cabernet Cranberry and Blueberry Sauce: A genius friend of mine once had a booze-themed Thanksgiving (yes, I agree, I need to hear more about her menu, too), and says this recipe was one of the best of the year.  

Mom's Turkey Pot Pie: If you were over-zealous about your pie crust making, as we often are, transforming your leftovers into a portable desk lunch is going to be a breeze.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Stuffing Waffles: Our brilliant cousin guest posted these on our blog last year, they've become a tradition in her household.  They also involve a cheese sauce made with your leftover gravy.

Mashed Potato WafflesAnother Thanksgiving carb turned into waffles, this time by Joy the Baker.  Last Thanksgiving, I accidentally made 5 pounds of mashed potatoes for just 4 people, so this recipe came in handy when I had brunch the following weekend.

Turkey Enchiladas: K's idea for when she had some additional family come visit a few days after Thanksgiving. Dip some tortillas into a mole sauce. Place tortillas in a 9x13 pan, fill with shredded turkey and queso fresco.  Wrap tortilla, continue until pan is filled. Top with  more mole sauce and cheese, bake at 350 degrees until bubbling (just 10-15 minutes).  Could also be done with an enchilada red sauce, instead of mole.

Classic Turkey SoupWhen Kate posted this years ago, she said to bookmark it for your Thanksgiving leftovers now...so I'm just helping you along.  

Turkey, Kale, Date Salad: After making this salad (subbed with kale, as mentioned in my last Thanksgiving roundup!) and having plenty leftover, my genius friend Sarah suggested we throw some leftover turkey in it for a healthy and fast reset meal.  It was the perfect post-Thanksgiving work lunch!

Turkey and Stuffing Dumpling Soup:  Another turkey soup, yes, but this one turns the stuffing into dumplings!  Using multiple leftovers in one dish is ideal.

Pie, Pie, Pie
New England Cranberry Walnut PieK made this last year when her table started to transform from Southwestern to New England. Consider it a good sign that it's a menu contender again for this year, as we have a lot of pies that we love.

Hatch Chile Apple Pie with Cheddar CrustThe perfect Southwestern pie twist from the New York Times.  The spice level will depend on the heat of your chiles, but serving it a la mode allows the vanilla ice cream to mellow the kick.  You can use canned green chiles if you're a desert person adrift in an Eastern city. (But I'm sorry, it's really so much better with real hatch chiles).

Salty Honey PieThis February, a friend and I took a pilgrimage to the Four and Twenty Blackbirds shop in New York City for our birthdays.  There, this pie changed my life.  Make this pie, and use good honey.  (Perfect for a Thanksgiving table with someone who has a nut allergy, but also as a compliment to almost any other pie).

Pumpkin Cream Pie: For when you need the easiest pie you can imagine, in order to attend to other parts of the meal.

Pear, Fig and Hazelnut Crumb PieFigs are a highly underrated fall fruit, and I've been looking for a way to put them between pie crust.  This may be just the ticket. Although, it sounds like it has many steps, so perhaps I'll just crumble some hazelnuts on top of this one.

Cardamom Custard Apple PieI have a deep love of cardamom, which is a lovely and unexpected winter spice.  This pie suspends apples in a sour cream custard laced with cardamom.  I've used pears and even peaches in place of the apples, and each was dreamy. Bonus points: the custard makes your top crust bake perfectly flat, making it easy to make a very attractive pie to impress your guests.

Cranberry Pie with Pecan CrumbleYes, this is another cranberry + nut pie, but this one is my personal favorite.  It has a tart, pure layer of cranberry buried underneath all the pecan crumble your heart desires.

Apple Hot ToddySarah's husband, Chris made these as a Thanksgiving cocktail years ago, so I'm reviving them here. They include muddled baked apples and I'm definitely requesting these from him this year when our family gathers in Boston.

Cranberry Margarita: Did I offer you enough opportunities to put a Southwest spin on your Thanksgiving, yet?.

Cranberry Sorbet Champagne Fizz:  Easy, and easy on the eyes.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Mom's Crockpot Turkey and Gravy

This was a staple of wintertime in our childhood home, so it feels a little wild that it's not posted on the blog yet.  I'm sure I've texted Mum for the recipe many, many times over the years. Without further ado, the perfect thing to come home to on a cold winter day...creamy, warms-you-to-your-bones turkey and gravy. All of the Thanksgiving comfort, with much less of the fuss.

Turkey Breast (Easily found at Thanksgiving, these look like a mini turkey when wrapped up in the produce section. We use the boneless, skinless turkey breast. Buy a couple if you have the freezer space)
1 to 2 boxes of chicken or turkey broth
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup Cornstarch
Cold milk

Heat broth in crockpot until hot - enough broth + water to cover the turkey breast.  Once hot, add the turkey breast, and sage and pepper (as desired).  Add the cream of mushroom soup now, or later if you like. Cook on high for four to five hours, until meat is cooked through and easily shredded. Cooking for longer won't hurt, if you need, and once the meat is cooked through you turn to low heat. Once cooked, put cornstarch in a mug or bowl. Stir cold milk into cornstarch. Heat in microwave until thickened, stir well. This mixture is a roux, stir the roux into the broth in the crockpot until thickened into gravy as desired.  Shred meat, serve meat and gravy over rice or mashed potatoes.

Food considerations:  Could be gluten free, so long as you use gf broth and soup.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Vermicelli Bowl

Except with no vermicelli (just rice) and many many items from my fridge allowed to join the party:

- At base of the bowl are some black kale, snow peas and firm tofu slices cooked in the skillet with soy and peanut oil (the only hot item)
- Then cold leftover rice on top
- Then vermicelli sauce (lime juice, mirin, and fish sauce with finely chopped scallions)
- Then toppings!  Avocado, radishes, sprouts, mint, cilantro, leftover baked sweet potato, peanuts, fried garlic, these chickpeas, and the best part....... quick pickled watermelon!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Curried Vegetable Fritters

Using Deb of smitten kitchen and The Kitch'n as a guide, I set out to make vegetable fritters without realizing that they are a tad more time-consuming than my night allowed for (mainly due to grating).  Never fear, I read about anti-poverty policy with my computer propped next to the sizzling frying pan. The result was a happily veggie-filled dinner to fuel my homework, paired with tomato soup and topped with my most recent Deb obsession: the crispy egg.

These portions are great for two, or for one single lady's dinner + lunch.

1/2 sweet potato
2 carrots
1/4 medium yellow onion
2 large florets cauliflower
1/4 cup feta
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic
Handful of cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
Salt, black pepper and/or red pepper flakes to taste
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup flour

Boil cauliflower in a small saucepan.  Meanwhile, grate sweet potato, carrots and onion into a medium bowl (if grating onions makes you weep, metaphorically or literally, slice it finely). Once soft, use a potato masher or fork to break up the cauliflower, add it to the bowl.  Chop ginger, garlic and cilantro finely, add them along with spices and feta.  Toss it all around with a fork. Add beaten egg, then flour, toss it all around some more.  Make sure the mixture will hold together well if you press it into a ball.  If not, add more flour (I wished I'd had).

Heat a frying pan with a thick coating of olive oil in the bottom of the pan over medium heat. Roll a roughly 1/4 cup sized portion into a ball. Drop into pan, flatten with a spatula. Let sit for a few (2-3) minutes, then flip and do the same on the other side.  If it's not quite ready to flip without crumbling, wait a bit longer. Once both sides are nicely browned, transfer to a plate.

Deb serves it with a nice yogurt dip.  I stirred together yogurt, cumin and lemon juice for my lunch fritters tomorrow, but really enjoyed these with a fried egg on top.