Saturday, November 29, 2008

Post-Post Thanksgiving Leftovers

Oh Thanksgiving, I'm already plotting your return next year. What will I do differently? Well, I'll definitely do less broth and a drier bread in the Artichoke Parmesan Sourdough Stuffing. We'll probably add another veggie, as there was far too much starch on the table this year. Oh yeah, and I won't lose my wedding rings. That would be nice.

But the traditional smoked turkey? That's coming back. Because two days later, I still can't get enough. I've had straight up cold turkey, sandwiches, salads, you name it. But this turkey salad sandwich created by Noah really takes the cake, er, sandwich.

Turkey Salad Sandwich
by Noah

3-5 c. Thanksgiving turkey, cold
a third of a small jar of mayonnaise
3 shallots, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Havarti cheese (optional, I opted out)
bread or rolls

Mix all but the last five ingredients in a bowl. Cut the bread or roll to desired sandwich size and scoop as much of the turkey salad onto it as you desire. Top with tomato, spinach, cheese and as many slices of bacon as you feel comfortable eating only two days after the gorge-fest known as Thanksgiving (in my case one slice, in Noah's it was two).

En. Yoy.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Feast from the East

Here is a sample of the Kissel family Thanksgiving buffet before we all dug in and destroyed the beautiful dishes. It was scrumshiss to the last drop... turkey, stuffing (two types; oyster and plain), company carrots(thanks to Jen and Ben), home made mac and cheese (thanks to Amanda and Scott), green beans (thanks to Robin), corn pudding with a kick (thanks to Kathe), sweet potatoes, smashed potatoes (thanks to Debra)...Dinner for 18 is a major effort but well worth the work to have everyone together. We're about to sit down to dessert so I'm signing off and hoping your feast is going as well as ours...Miss you all more than you can ever know...Love,Mom & Auntie D

Turkey Day...Early Morning...Los Angeles

Not to be outdone by Robin, Deb and the gang, here are some pics from Turkey Day LA. This is the strawberry rhubarb pie for tonight (mom's recipe, to follow) that I made Tuesday night. 'Cause I'm on top of it like that.
Isn't it pretty in close up? It's my favorite pie in the world (Pumpkin? Pass). They only had rhubarb a few times at the Farmers Market this year, so I snatched some up and froze it when I saw it, in preparation for this day. Literally today, as I knew I wanted a strawberry rhubarb pie on Thanksgiving the minute last year's dinner ended. Yeah, man, it's that good.
And this is our smoker, smoking away on the turkey, a 20 lb. beast that we barely squeezed into the tiny barrel. Trust me, I had words with the lady when I picked it up yesterday at the Santa Monica Farmers Market (I'd ordered a 16 lb. one). Luckily it fit, otherwise our smoked turkey would have come in two pieces.

My dad's made smoked turkey for Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember, it's the only way I can eat turkey today (and my mom and sister have promised to post pics from their T-Day smoking extravaganza as well). We brine ours, using Alton Brown's recipe which is crazy easy and really good. So not only is it moist due to smoking and brining, but it's got a nice sweetness to it as well. Anyway, when I married Noah I made him take over the smoking duties for our Thanksgivings down in LA. He's pretty darn good at it, too.

And did I mention we've both been up since 5:20 am working on the turkey, starting the Almost No Knead Bread, and, of course, putting up this post. We'll try and check in throughout the day, so y'all can see what we're up to.

The Stupid Swiss Cuts Onions...

Hey, are those Onion Goggles you're wearing???

Thanksgiving Greetings from Cincinnati

We are gathered together in Cincinnati to enjoy a family Thanksgiving. Andres has come from Switzerland, Debra from New York State, the Kissels of Cincinnati and the Kushners (Amanda's family) from Cleveland. Here are some pictures from the morning preparations to show how we are getting ready for the holiday. Larry, aka The Pieman of Cinci, outdid himself this year as you will notice in the pictures. The chocolate cake (recipe to follow) is absolutely to die for and there are two kinds of pumpkin pie, a killer apple pie with little apple pie babies, and mince meat pie as well. There is also a picture of the Stupid Swiss cutting up the onions wearing the famous "onion goggles". Hope you are all enjoying a wonderful holiday... send pictures so we can all share.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Back Story on Haricots Verts...

Every year we travel to lovely Cincinnati to have Thanksgiving with the Kissel clan and about 5 years ago I made an old family favorite... green beans provencale a la Julia...  they were an immediate hit with everyone and became the dish I was required to make every year... the more the better (we double it and make a whole lot).  So about three years ago I was making my dish and after they simmered for the 8-10 minutes I picked up the large skillet Kathe had me use and the handle broke off and the beans spilled all over the kitchen floor.  After the 5 second rule was invoked we saved only a small portion of the dish.  As a result Kathe bought a very high end All Clad deep dish skillet for me and I loved it so much I added one to my own kitchen.  Now we never worry about spilling the beans!!!!

Haricots Verts a la Provencale

Haricots Verts A La Provencale

For 6 – 8 Servings

2 Cups thinly sliced onions

½ cup olive oil

A large enamel or other skillet large enough to hold everything

4-6 large firm ripe tomatoes (or you can very successfully use Delmonte canned tomatoes in oregano and balsamic vinegar… reserve the liquid and drain)

2-4 cloves mashed garlic

A medium herb bouquet (parsley, bay leaf, thyme, cloves(only 2)tied in cheesecloth or you can use the standard Simon and Garfinkle herbs (for those of you not up on your sixties folk that would be Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme!)

¾ cup liquid (juice from the tomatoes plus water)

Salt and pepper to taste

3 lbs beans


¼ cup chopped parsley or mixture of green herbs (basil, savory, tarragon, parsley)

Cook the onions slowly in the olive oil until they are tender and translucent

Add tomatoes, garlic and herbs + liquid and salt and pepper ; cook 30 minutes then remove bouquet

While the tomatoes are cooking blanch the beans in 7-8 quarts of boiling salted water but drain them 3-4 minutes before they are tender. If you cook them ahead of time plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking so they don’t get soft. Toss them in the pan with the onions and tomatoes. Cover and simmer slowly for about 8 minutes. If any liquid remains cook it off. Toss in green herbs and serve.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Guilt Free Pumpkin Pie

I'm a Weight Watcher and holidays scare me, but I've found a great way to beat the calorie blues for this Thanksgiving. Hungry Girl, cookbook and website, has lots of options for the holidays. Here's one I've tries that really passes the muster. So Thank you Hungry Girl, all credit goes to you for making Thanksgiving a sweet thing...

No one loves pumpkin as much as Hungry Girl does -- the fat orange fruit (yes, it's technically a fruit 'cuz it has seeds!) and HG have been BFFs forever. So it was inevitable that a fantastic pumpkin pie swap would come from the HG kitchen. Well, here it is. Grab a can of pumpkin and your trusty box of Fiber One, and get busy! We present to you HG's Too-Good-To-Deny Pumpkin Pie...

Photos from Hungry Girl


For Crust
2 cups Fiber One bran cereal (original)
1/4 cup light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like Brummel & Brown); melted & mixed with 1 oz. water
3 tbsp. Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, granulated
1 tsp. cinnamon

For Filling
One 15-oz. can pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
One 12-oz. can evaporated fat-free milk
3/4 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, granulated
1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters)
1/4 cup sugar-free maple syrup
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
Optional Topping: Fat Free Reddi-wip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a blender or food processor, grind Fiber One to a breadcrumb-like consistency. Combine crumbs with all other crust ingredients. Stir until mixed well. In an oven-safe 9-inch pie dish sprayed lightly with nonstick spray, evenly distribute mixture, using your hands or a flat utensil to firmly press and form the crust. Press it into the edges and up along the sides of the dish. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the filling. Mix well. Pour mixture into pie crust. (Filling may be taller than the crust -- trust us, this is okay!) Bake pie in the oven for 45 minutes, and then remove it and allow to cool. Chill in the fridge for several hours (for best results, chill overnight). Cut into 8 slices, and if you like, top with Reddi-wip before serving! MAKES 8 SERVINGS

Serving Size: 1 slice
Calories: 133
Fat: 3g
Sodium: 236mg
Carbs: 28g
Fiber: 9g
Sugars: 8g
Protein: 6g

POINTS® value 2*

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cake with A-Plum

I made this cake a few weeks back in the throes of my "We're going to Paris for Christmas, so let's eat French food" fit. It's from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris cookbook. I'm not usually into those Food Network AM ladies (Giada, Rachel, Ina, etc...), but this book has proved to be a solid source of good, easy, French (sometimes French-lite) recipes. And since we had a ton of end of the season plums, this seemed like a good recipe to use them in. I mean, who doesn't like cake?
As per usual, I tweaked the recipe a bit - subbing these Emerald plums for the purple "prunes" Ina asks for, as well as cutting them into slices and making this cool spiral pattern v. her idea of just halving them. This seemed like a prettier, not to mention more fork-friendly, way to go.
This is the end result. Noah and I had a few slices warm out of the oven and shared the rest with our friends a few days later at an Election Night party (told you this post was overdue). Everyone voted "yes" on Prop Plum Cake.

Oh yes, the fruit part seems to invite many, many variations. Ina suggests pears as an alternative. I think apples, persimmons and cherries would also be lovely. And I'm seriously considering a cranberry version for Thanksgiving.

Plum Cake "Tatin"
from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten

6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp, plus extra for greasing the dish.
10 to 12 purple "prune" plums, cut in half and pitted (I used 8 or so Emerald plums, cut into 1/8ths)
1 3/4 c. granulated sugar, divided
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 c. sour cream (I used 1/3 c. non-fat greek yogurt)
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest (I used grated grapefruit zest since we were out of lemons)
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
Confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish and arrange the plums in the dish, cut side down (or in a circular pattern of slices, as I did).

Combine 1 c. of the granulated sugar and 1/3 c. water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360 degrees on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan, but don't stir. Pour evenly over the plums.

Meanwhile, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the sour cream, zest and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and, with the mixer on low speed, add it to the butter mixture. Mix only until combined.

Pour the cake batter evenly over the plums and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then inverth the cake onto a flat plate. If a plum sticks, ease it out and replace it in the design on top of the cake. Serve warm or at temperature, dusted with confectioners' sugar.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gates in the City

A couple of the ironwork gates I pass on my weekly walk to the H-wood Farmers Market every Sunday. I don't think I ever really noticed them (or a lot of other things) until I brought my camera with me one morning a few weeks back.
I especially love these. They're getting me in the mood for France. T-minus 39 days...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Something More Important Than Food

Like the majority of voting Americans last Tuesday I ended the day feeling pretty happy - my guy had won! Change was coming! Hope was on its way! On the west coast the election was called at 8pm and the celebrations commenced.

Except, as the night went on and the numbers started to come in on the CA Propositions, a sense of dread started to settle in amongst many of us. I'm talking, of course, about Prop 8. Perhaps I was naive, but I had really and truly believed at the start of the day that voters in this state (a state I love, a state I have always called home) would make the right choice. The choice to not limit the freedoms of other human beings. Naively I thought that in the midst of this presidential run, a run that seemed impossible even to the most optimistic in our not too distant past, that people would see the obvious parallels when it came to people's civil liberties and MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE.

I was wrong.

There are a million things I could say, but none of them are as eloquent as the argument Keith Olbermann makes. Take six minutes out of your day and watch. Maybe he can change your mind.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chicken Soup for the Sickie

Yesterday I finally caught the nasty cold that Noah, his mom and stepdad (who visited last weekend) and seemingly most of the world has. And this weird thing happens when a) you have a cold and b) it's cold outside - you start to crave soup. I had Noah bring me home some french onion soup from The Corner (formerly Doughboys) yesterday. It was lovely. And also ginormous, so I got to have some more for lunch today. Sweet.

Later I remembered that I had the leftover bones 'n stuff from a chicken we roasted earlier this week still sitting in the fridge. Time to make stock! And not to, like, toot my own horn or anything, but I totally kicked this stock's ass. I guess for the first time I actually made an effort to not let it boil EVER in the process and the broth that it turned out was so far superior in color and flavor to anything I'd ever stocked before. I ended up eating a ton of it - alone, just stock. That's when you know a stock is good. And also that you are sick.

But plain broth alone does not a dinner make. And when Sherry and I were hiking in Runyon this morning she mentioned this turkey meatball and pasta soup I had made recently. Well, I wasn't really feeling turkey meatballs, but a skinless boneless chicken breast shredded and some noodles, carrots and celery sounded right up my alley.

And what makes a girl feel better than a bowl of soup and a glass of wine? Not much.

Chicken Noodle Soup a la Sarah
by Me, serves 1

2 c. chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 c. shredded chicken
1/3 c. dry pasta (I used these cool ring shaped ones, but orzo or other small noodles would work well, too)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat stock to a simmer. Add in everything else. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until pasta is tender. Enjoy!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Beouf Bourguignon

You may have heard Noah and I are going to Paris for Christmas and New Years. And we're kinda, sorta getting really freaking excited about it. So much so that we ended up making multiple French/French inspired dishes this weekend. Including a Beouf Bourguignon.

The recipe is from "Glorious Stew" by Dorothy Ivens, a cookbook I fondly remember on my mom's book shelves when I was growing up. She gave me a copy a few Christmases ago and I've wanted to make something from it forever. I finally got it together this weekend, just in time for a moderate temperature drop that made it feel quite fall-ish (for LA, which meant mid-70s).
And wow, A+ Ms. Ivens. Yes, of course, I tweaked the recipe a little, but it's simple (really, I promise) and tasty and we're still (happily) eating the copious leftovers.
Beouf Bourguignon
"Glorious Stew" by Dorothy Ivens

3 lbs. boned shoulder or chuck fillet of beef in 2 inch cubes (or beef stewing meat, which is what we got)
2 slices bacon, diced
2 tbsp. olive oil, more if needed
4-5 tbsp. butter, more if needed
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 c. cognac (optional)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp. salt
6-8 grinds pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsely (I left it out)
2 c. dry red Burgundy, warmed (okay, admission, we used a cheap Bordeaux, which I guess technically makes it Beouf Bordeaux)
1-2 c. beef broth, warmed, more if needed
1 lb. mushrooms
24 small white onions (pearl)
3 carrots, chopped into chunks similar in size to mushrooms (not in the recipe, I just wanted 'em)

Turn oven to 450 degrees. Pull out a 3-4 quart casserole dish.

Dry meat thoroughly so it browns properly. In a skillet, cook the bacon in the hot oil and 2 tbsp. butter. When it is lightly browned, remove it with a slotted spoon to a heavy, lidded flameproof casserole. In the same skillet, brown the beef carefully on all sides, a few pieces at a time, removing them to the casserole as they are done. Turn on flame very low under the casserole.

Sprinkle the flour on the meat, toss gently and cook until four is absorbed. Place the casserole uncovered in the oven. Cook for 5 minutes, then toss the meat and cook 5 minutes more. This is to sear the meat thoroughly.

Return the casserole to the top of the stove and turn the oven down to 325 degrees. In a saucepan, warm the Cognac (if using) and ignite it with a match. Pour it, flaming, into the casserole, standing well back and shaking the casserole for a few seconds. Stop the flame by putting hte lid on for a moment. *Note - This is not considered to be part of the traditional Burgundian recipe, but more of a Parisian flourish added in restaurants there. I emitted it, due to a lack of cognac or acceptable substitute.

Mash the garlic with the salt. Remove the casserole lid and add all the seasonings (thyme, bay leaf, pepper and parsley). Pour the warmed wine and add enough warmed stock to barely cover the meat. Bring it all to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover casserole and place in oven, turning it down to 300 degrees. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is nearly tender. Check during cooking to make sure the liquid has not boiled away. Add hot water or more stock if needed. Degrease the dish once or twice by tipping pot and skimming off fat. Check seasoning.

Now for the vegetables. If mushrooms are larger than an inch or so in diameter, slice into halves or quarters. Peel onions and make a small cross in root to prevent them from separating (if using pearl onions, the easiest way to peel is by placing them in boiling water for 3 minutes and then peeling, a la tomatoes or peaches). Cut carrots into comprable chunks to onions and mushrooms.

Lightly saute the onions, carrots and mushrooms together in butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add to stew (when you hit the 1 1/2 hour in point). Cook for 30-45 minutes longer or until meat and vegetables are tender.