Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thankful for Martha

Right before Thanksgiving, I had rewatched an old Martha Stewart clip show special of some of her Thanksgiving tidbits. One that made me rush for a pen and paper was her turkey basting. Sure, this is a little late for Thanksgiving, but if you're like my family, this is just in time for your Christmas turkey.

  1. In a small pot, bring 3 sticks of butter and 1 bottle of dry wine to a small boil.
  2. After cleaning, stuffing, and prepping your turkey, cover it with 4 layers of 100% cotton cheesecloth.
  3. With a baster, pour some of the butter/wine mix over the turkey. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
  4. Baste again, and change the temperature to 350 degrees. Baste every 30 minutes.
  5. About 1 hour before the turkey reaches 180 degrees, remove the cheesecloth and baste one last time. (This was a bit annoying, but well worth it!)

This made for a very savory and beautifully browned bird.

Besides the turkey, we had a plethora of side dishes:
  • Green beans, covered with the basting mix and slivered almonds
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Butternut squash and sweet potato soup
  • Harvest salad (mixed greens, chopped apples, dried cranberries, pecans, crumbled gorgonzola, and raspberry vinaigrette)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Glazed carrots
  • Harvest stuffing (stuffing mix, chopped apples, walnuts)
  • Fresh bread rolls from the farmer's market
  • And, of course, a tofurkey for me!
  • Friday, November 26, 2010

    Wine of the Week - Milan Vineyards 2009 Soliloquy


    I had a difficult time getting a fix on this wine while I was tasting it, so take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt. There were notes of strawberry and grapefruit on the nose. Rich and deep citrus flavors on the tongue, with maybe a tiny hint of vinegar. The full, flowering tart aftertaste makes for a great finish. A very tasty wine.

    14.6% alcohol

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Southwestern pumpkin wrap

    Not sure why Eatingwell.com titled this recipe a burger when it calls for stuffing into a tortilla.

    A great autumny-take on a summer favorite of mine.

    But a burger? Nah - for the sake of this post, I'm officially calling this a wrap.

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Wine of the Week - Sterling 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon


    Made with "organic grapes," whatever that means, this is a surprisingly tasty wine and a great value.

    The nose has a silkiness to it, and smells mostly of strawberries. The taste is bright and acidic, with charcoal undertones that give it a feeling of fullness.

    13% alcohol

    NOTE: Wine columnist Mike Steinberger recommends cabernets for Thanksgiving. Click here to read more.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Apple-stuffed tofu

    I based this recipe off an article in an old Woman's Day for apple-stuffed chicken breast.
    If using chicken, there are two very important details:
    1. Slice the chicken in the center but don't cut all the way through or the stuffed innards will fall out.
    2. Cook the chicken thoroughly, which may take a little longer than tofu.

    Ingredients (to serve two):
    1/2 granny smith apple, chopped
    1/4 shredded cheddar cheese
    1-2 tbsp lemon juice
    1 brick firm tofu
    Olive oil

    1. Mix the apple, cheese,and lemon juice together in a bowl and sprinkle with about 1 tbsp pepper.
    2. Cut the tofu brick in half so you have two large chunks. Cut a divot into the tofu without breaking through the sides.
    3. Stuff the divot with the apple mixture, as much as you can fit without breaking the tofu. Secure with toothpicks.
    4. Combine some cornstarch and cornmeal and a bit of pepper on a plate. Dip the tofu into this mixture, covering all sides. (For chicken, use bread crumbs and your favorite seasonings.)
    5. Heat 3-4 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Cook the tofu until brown, about 5-10 minutes on each side.
    6. Enjoy with a healthy side of veggies!

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Wine of the Week - Bellwether Heritage "Old"


    Bellwether produces two wines under the Heritage banner - "new" and "old." Today we're investigating the old.

    On the nose, this is one of the few ciders that actually smells like apples. Most ciders tend toward the characteristics of white wine.

    This is a very dry drink, to the point that the flavor seems to evaporate moments after touching your tongue, leaving behind a bitter taste. Then a hint of apples return for the aftertaste. Overall, the flavor most closely resembles beer; this is reinforced by the rich amber color and the light carbonation.

    This cider would pair well with a turkey-centric Thanksgiving meal. Consider buying a bottle or two for the occasion.

    6.9% alcohol

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Glazed snap peas

    I found think recipe in the recipe binder. It was torn out of a magazine, possibly from a Woman's Day from several years ago. But I've finally come around to making this.

    A few cups of sugar snap peas
    About 1/4 cup nuts (I used chopped walnuts)
    1/4 cup of butter.

    1. Melt the butter in a pan. Add nuts and stir until toasted, about 10 minutes.
    2. Add the unsnapped snap peas and mix well.
    3. Cook until heated through, about 5-10 minutes.

    Couldn't be easier! Unless someone else makes it for you. This was a nice sidedish alternative for a fall meal. I just might add this to my Thanksgiving menu!

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    Wine of the Week - Kono 2010 Sauvignon Blanc


    This wine popped up in my usual grocery store and was so unusual that I had to check it out. Unusual because I've never encountered a New Zealand wine before, and also because of its appearance - it's nearly as colorless as water.

    The nose is very sweet, with the slightest hint of table salt.

    Oddly, the overwhelming sweetness of the nose is not present on the tongue. This wine tastes of citrus fruits, mostly lemon, with an aftertaste of dry grapefruit. Unexpected and enjoyable. A good value. Don't hesitate to pick it up.

    13.5% alcohol

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Breakfast for Dinner

    My husband's favorite dinner is what we like to call omelets. It is, in fact, scrambled eggs with other things mixed in, though. Still, he loves it and now so do I. On this particular night, I went even further by using some of the million potatoes in our fridge to make my very first hash browns (based on this post by Joe).

    For the potatoes:
    Melt some margarine in a hot skillet. Add 2 small sliced or cubed potatoes per person, plus some chopped onion (I used green onion because it's what I had on hand). Sprinkle some rosemary and a lot of paprika and cook until the potatoes are soft. Sprinkle with salt before serving.

    While the potatoes were cooking: Fry up four strips of tempeh bacon until crispy. Set aside. Throw some diced tomato into the pan and let them cook up a bit. Then drop in 4 eggs and scramble. Coarsely chop the bacon and throw it in with the eggs. Keep on heat (and keep scrambling) until eggs are cooked through.

    Looking at the plate, I wish I'd made something green to go with this dinner, but nobody's perfect.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Baked veggies

    A nutritious sidedish to any meal:

    Fresh asparagus
    Carrots, cut into sections
    Small yukon potatoes, cut into quarters
    Olive oil
    Rosemary, basil, pepper

    1. Cover a pan or baking rack with foil. Spread out potatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle rosemary on top. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
    2. Remove pan from oven. Place carrots next to potatoes. Drizzle with oil and pepper. Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes.
    3. Remove pan from oven. Add asparagus, with olive oil and basil and pepper. Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes.

    Serve. Be careful-it'll be hot!

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Quick & Easy Vinaigrette

    I was trying to figure out how to eat the rest of the spinach in my fridge when Matt volunteered to make me some vinaigrette. He was done in about two seconds so I made him tell me how he did it - because people need to know! He mixed 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and then added a bit of mustard and honey. Whisked together, it was the perfect topper for my hummus, peppers and spinach salad. It was enough for 3 salads.