Thanksgiving #TurkeyTalk Round Up

Well, I would say the #turkeytalk chat was quite a success. At some point, enough people were on the chat long enough that we were a trending topic in DC on Twitter! Pretty exciting I say :)

Here’s the round up tips, tricks and recipes shared during the chat – but the hashtag is very much alive! Keep using it on Twitter to join in and share!

Tips, Tricks and Resources

Snacks & Apps

Turkey

  • Big winner idea of the night: @MrsWheelbarrow rubs her turkey down with bacon fat. Rubs. Her turkey. Down. With. Bacon. Fat.
  • I plan on rubbing my turkey down with butter…and that’s when @ThriftyDCCook recommended Cowgirl Creamery‘s European style salted butter from Vermont.
  • Brine recipe: Salt, brown sugar, oranges, lemons, thyme, parsley. Keep in the cooler overnight w/ice. via @MrsWheelbarrow
  • Everyone raved over Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio book for a brine recipe.
  • Ever consider spatchcocking your turkey, then cooking it on the grill? @MrsWheelbarrow and @ThriftyDCCook are thinking of doing their turkey this way – but be warned – this takes muscle and a strong pair of kitchen shears.
  • There was a debate over stuff in the turkey vs. out of the turkey – some liked out of the turkey because that frees up the cavity for aromatics (lemons, oranges, onions, fresh herbs) others like it in because all the flavors and juices get to mingle. In the end, it’s a personal preference.

Vegetarian options, Sides, Desserts, Drinks and more after the jump…

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Thanksgiving: Avoiding A Total Cooking Meltdown

People. I’m nervous. I’m basically planning, directing, orchestrating, cooking for five people for Thanksgiving this year. Maybe six if they show up. This is my biggest cooking venture yet. And the stakes couldn’t be higher.  I need to make this:

Gobblers in their natural state (via Hey Paul on flickr)

Turn into this:

Gobbler decidedly not in its natural state (via tuchodi on flickr)

…in something like six hours.

So instead of absolutely freaking the frack out…I’m hosting a twitter chat. A Thanksgiving recipe exchange…on twitter. Next (I wrote the post last week)This Wednesday, November 10th (that’s tomorrow) at 8:00 p.m. ET (6:00 p.m. for West Coasters and Arizonans) log in to your twitter account and use the hashtag #turkeytalk in all your recipe and food related posts to participate. UPDATE: I neglected to mention, to participate you also need to follow me…I’m @frijolita! :)

I’ll take us through forty minutes of recipe sharing…from turkey to stuffing to sides to desserts we’ll share tips, tricks and most importantly, recipes with each other and hopefully ease the collective pain a bit.

Collect links to your favorite recipes, from any source and be ready to share! And let me know if you have any questions about how this will work in the comments – I’ll get you ready for this! No worries.

For those of you not on twitter…I’ll post a round up of all the recipes shared within a day or two of the chat!

Enjoy!

Cuban Black Bean Soup

Oh my gosh people. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe. And I’ll tell ya! I did all this really great cooking last weekend only to realize it gets dark by 7pm nowadays which means I can’t take a decent picture of the food to save my life.

In a way, it’s been nice to focus on cooking and tasting and trying new things rather than getting myself into a tizzy trying to stir and take photos or take pictures fast enough so I can eat the food warm!

Like finding a $20 bill in your winter coat, I came across some photos I took of this Cuban Black Bean Soup I had made months ago but never blogged about.

I make this soup often and what I extra love about it is that it’s a perfect portion for two (or one dinner and one lunch in my case). It is also uncomplicated and hearty without being heavy in the tummy. It makes me feel cozy when I eat it. And it has cumin and I love cumin.

Enjoy!

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Adventures in Pappardelle (and White Wine Reductions)

Two things: I am mildly obsessed with pappardelle pasta right now, AND I really, really love white wine reduction sauces.

I was in New York City on business and met with a consultant I work with, who’s also a really fabulous person and a friend. Well. A New Yorker through and through, he took me to an Italian restaurant that made the most delicate and light pappardelle I’ve ever had in my life.

Pasta is almost always heavy, and thick and…substantial in your mouth. But this! This was a delight with every bite. And there were sautéed mushrooms. To be honest, I can’t remember if there was a sauce. In fact, when  I think about that meal all I can see in my head are the thinnest pappardelle ribbons curling around themselves on the plate.

Fast forward. I was in New York again, a couple of weeks later (I know, it’s a hard life I live) but this time for fun. I was out to dinner with my best friends in the whole world, this time at another Italian restaurant. Highly recommended, it was a delicious meal but they served the sort of pasta I mentioned earlier – heavy. I ordered a dish of thick pasta tubes mixed with asparagus and artichoke hearts doused in a knock-your-socks-off lemon white wine reduction sauce.

So combine these two trips and I was off on a hunt. Searching for pappardelle (which is unusually hard to find) and a recipe for a white wine reduction.

I’ll save you the trouble – go to Trader Joe’s. They have dry pappardelle in regular and lemon pepper (which was really nice, not an overpowering flavor at all) in substantial portions. I’d say a bag could serve four, or two really hungry people.

I experimented with both flavors – making the regular pasta with an assortment of mushrooms I got from the market. I sautéed them in equal parts butter and olive oil until they were browned then mixed them in with the pasta and the white wine reduction. For the lemon pepper pasta I sautéed fresh asparagus, leeks and artichoke hearts, and added them to the pasta and the white wine reduction. Very simple preparation, taking almost no time at all with big, flavorful and satisfying results. Need a quick week night dinner? I’d highly recommend either of these dishes.

I’m not going to give a recipe for these because you can do this! And, there’s no wrong amount of mushrooms or vegetables to put in these dishes. But! You can find the recipe for the white wine reduction after the jump.

Enjoy :)

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Ricotta Gnocchi with Lemon Brown Butter

I get these cravings.

They’re not quite pregnant lady cravings (dear lord, no!) but they are intense, can’t-get-a-dish-out-of-my-mind, give-that-to-me-right-NOW! cravings. Usually that’s when I seek out a restaurant that makes the best possible version of whatever dish I’m craving. (Side note, but related, Proof makes a really lovely chocolate hazelnut cake…another recent craving.)

So when I recently got a hankering for ricotta gnocchi? No luck, Chuck. I was fresh out of ideas for where to get that in the District.

After waiting a couple weeks to see if my craving would abate I happened to be watching The Cooking Channel (which is like, whoa, the best channel ever) when lo and behold! Chef Michael Symon, on his show Cook Like An Iron Chef, was making…RICOTTA GNOCCHI!! And oh, look at that!! I had just bought Keswick Creamery, fresh ricotta (which you can find at the Dupont Farmers Market)!! How convenient.

So there I was, on a Sunday afternoon, in something like 90 degree weather, making ricotta gnocchi. You know why all those people on Top Chef make gnocchi? Cause it’s totally easy to make and pretty fail-proof. And I’ll tell ya! If I can do it, you can do it. I promise. And there’s something kind of rhythmic and soothing about making the little fluffs – an unexpected, but added bonus when a person has something thinking to do.

I do warn – it’s a heavy dish. Maybe tuck this recipe away for another month ’till it cools down a little bit? Other than that, rock this recipe in your kitchen pleeease! You will love each. Fluffy. Pillow. Covered. In. Brown. Butter. NOM!

Enjoy! :)

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Albondigas (or Spanish Meatballs)

I’m a dork. So when I decided to make albondigas (pronounced al-bon-dee-gahs) earlier this week I ran around saying, tweeting and emailing “Cloudy with a chance of ALBONDIGAS!!!” to everyone I knew. I thought it was funny…so did my Great Great Boss who, in a very Sabado Gigante voice says, alllllBONdigaaas!!!, every time I say I’m going to make them. It’s fun times all around when albondigas are made.

The first time I made these bad boys it was a bit of an experiment and The BF was forced into partaking. The original recipe, poor misguided soul  whoever wrote that thing, called for a HALF A CUP of adobo sauce. Crazy pants. More like poop your crazy pants. The sauce was so spicy, so hot that The BF and I kept having to stop and breath, open-mouthed and frantically sip water in a really lame attempt to please, please stop the burning. It was too good to stop eating though. So we pretty much decimated out taste buds and ended up eating the whole pot of albondigas.

This time, my second time making them, I cut back on the adobo – just 2 tablespoons to the whole pot – and while it didn’t give you that spicy kick, it did give you that smoky flavor adobo is so well-known for. Next time, I’ll add more, maybe 3 tablespoons or 4. The lesson here though folks – add the adobo in small increments and taste along the way. Also, the original recipe included the chipotles that are almost always paired with the adobo sauce. Um. No thanks. Well, I take that back. Do it…but like, half of one.

I feel like such a lame half Mexican-American. My tolerance for spicy isn’t so much low as it’s that I’m a baby about my tongue burning. What!? It’s an uncomfortable feeling!

Anyway – you guys will love this. Enjoy!

PS – These are more Spanish style albondigas – Mexican style goes in a brothy soup. Also, you can make the meatballs smaller and serve them as an appetizeror tapas, or make them the 1.5 inches as stated in the recipe and serve them as a meal. I usually serve them on a bed of long-grain rice!

PPS – I changed the order of the steps in executing the recipe. A friend alerted me that if you don’t read the whole recipe through first you lose cooking time on the sauce.

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Roasted Corn On The Cob

This one’s easy folks. There’s no measuring, stirring, combining or mixing. It’s a lot of slathering, shaking and shmearing. It’s good stuff.

It’s an adapted Paula Deen recipe.

BOOM! Need I say more!? Oh wait…let me add that it’s fresh farmers market corn on the cob. Which, I hear is quite a steal right now. Okay, so here we go…

Clean an ear, or two, of corn – peel off the husk and make sure all the silky strings are removed. Chop off the gnarly ends of the corn. Now shmear (using your hands) a (healthy) dollop of mayo (the real thing, not that low fat stuff!) all over each ear of corn. Sprinkle a (healthy) shake of Parmesan cheese over each ear. Now sprinkle a little more on. It’s that good. Now a dash of salt and pepper and you’re done. Paula makes her’s spicy by adding some cayenne. I don’t object to that…or some Old Bay, or adobo or chili powder. I’m up for it all. I just wasn’t last night. Add what you like…add some dried herbs? Mix it up!

Now wrap it up in some aluminum foil…nice and tight! Pop it in the oven or on a grill for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. All done? Open up the foil, let it cool for a minute and…AND…EAT!!!

Enjoy! :)

Veggie No-Bake Lasagna

When I was asked to participate in recipe demos at the 14th and U St farmers market with fellow food bloggers Mango and Tomato, Florida Girl In DC and Thrifty DC Cook I was a) totally flattered and b) freakin’ the heck out! The recipe needed to include farmers market finds (duh!) but also be as no-cook/no-bake as possible.

Yikes! I love using farm fresh ingredients in all sorts of things…but it’s rare that I go the no-cook/no-bake route. I’m the girl who makes cheesecakes and brownies in the dead of summer. It could be 100 degrees out and I’m thinking about what to bake.

At any rate…Martha Stewart gave me some inspiration at the last minute. She had a photo and brief “recipe” for a veggie “lasagna” that looked so fresh and pretty. Turns out it was easy enough to make but was sorta bland. So I added in my favorite vinaigrette, some salt and pepper and all was well in the world again.

I hope you guys like it as much as I did! Enjoy!

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Faux Gumbo

I know NOLA, Southern people, ya’ll. It’s not gumbo. There’s no roux. I’m sorry. It’s another Weight Watchers recipe.

God…I need to bake something. With a lot of butter in it. Soon. Or something with caramel. Salted caramel. Like brownies. Drizzled with smooth, salted caramel. Sprinkled with the tiniest bits of flaky, white…*drool*

Sorry! Sorry! I’m back. Faux gumbo. Even The BF liked this one…he has no clue what he’s eating really. I just make this stuff, it happens to be healthy and he’s happy at the end of the night. So if you aren’t a stickler for completely authentic gumbo, you probably won’t mind this. If you are a stickler, like I am about my Mexican food, then, carry on! Act like you never saw this post.

Maybe we’ll just call it Chicken, Shrimp and Kielbasa with Rice in Tomatoes. How about that? :)

Enjoy!

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Stuffed Peppers

You know those “Mom” dishes that always make you think of being home for Sunday dinners?

Yeah. This isn’t one of those for me…but I know plenty of people who have Moms that made stuffed peppers for Sunday dinners! :)

This recipe is in my Weight Watchers cookbook…and like I said…I’m workin’ on my fitness. It’s surprisingly flavorful thanks to all the herbs and cheese. Ok, confession, I put way more than a 1/4 cup of cheese. Suck it, Points!! A girl needs somethin’!

Can I apologize for the lack of pictures? It’s hard to take an appetizing photo of a hunk of ground beef. Go ahead. You try. Send me the best one.

Okay, moving on to cooks notes: use fresh herbs. I don’t care how much they cost! Use ’em! It’s totally worth it! You’ll thank me. Also, don’t use green bell peppers. I know, they’re cheaper! But they’re also bitter tasting, and they don’t soften well. It just makes you not want to eat the healthiest part of the whole dish.

Enjoy!

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