Wednesday, November 30, 2016

We Are Off - Again


Wheels are up and another adventure is about to begin. I really should make you guess what our final destination will be, but I don't think the photo will get you to the right continent, much less the right country. The time has come for me to check the zip-line off my bucket list, so, to that end, the Silver Fox and I are off to explore Costa Rica and look at some property while we are there. For most of the trip I'll have no internet access, so this will most likely be my last post until just before the Christmas holiday. The dish in the photo is Casado, or Comida Tipica, and I'm told it is the most popular dish in Costa Rica. It consists of beans, rice with finely diced mixture of red bell peppers and onions, fried plantains, a cabbage salad with tomato and carrot, plus your pick of grilled chicken, fish, pork, or steak with grilled onions. Some places also serve it with French fries and sliced avocados. It is served throughout the country in small restaurants that are called "sodas." The word casado means "married man," and probably alludes to the mating of rice and beans in the dish. You can tell at a glance that it is much like the rice bowls of other countries. It may not be pretty, but we are told it's tasty, so, dig in and enjoy it. Instructions for assembly can be found here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A (Borrowed) Kitchen Keeper Original - Mustard and Rosemary Roasted Turkey with Pepper and Port Wine Gravy


From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I couldn't share this recipe before the holiday because I had not yet tested it. I rarely make a dish for company unless I've tried it at least once, but I made an exception this Thanksgiving. I found the recipe for the turkey in Food and Wine magazine and I've had such good luck with their recipes that I didn't hesitate to serve it fresh off the chopping block on Turkey Day. I guess that means I'm less afraid of my friends judgement than I am yours. This is an exceptionally easy recipe, and now that it's been tested I can tell you it makes a great turkey for a small group of adventurous eaters. Please note, the rub is applied to the bird the day before it goes into the oven and once that is done the turkey is oven ready and can be forgotten. I do hope that those of you who serve turkey on Christmas Day will give some thought to this recipe. You won't be sorry. While I served it with garlic mashed potatoes, the next time I make it I think I'll serve it with a potato gratin. I love the port and pepper gravy, but I think it's better on the turkey than it is on potatoes. Here is how the turkey and gravy are made. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Using Holiday Leftovers Creatively

Photo Courtesy of Support Imagination

Normally, I'd post menus for the week today, but the Silver Fox and I are up to ankles in alligators preparing for our Costa Rican adventure. There will be no menus in our house this week, but I thought some of you might find these recipes, all of which use holiday leftovers, useful.



                 Turkey Fried Rice                                                                     Turkey Bolognese




                 Turkey and Corn Quesadillas                                                Turkey Noodle Casserole



                 Cranberry Crumb Cake                                                     Cranberry Kolaches



           Turkey Soup with Herb Dumplings                                              Portuguese Turkey Soup



                 Turkey Stuffed Shells                                                     Asian-Style Turkey Soup





                 Turkey Sloppy Joes                                                     Turkey Stroganoff Turkey Soup

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Kitchen Keeper Original - Pumpkin Cheesecake with Orange Caramel Sauce


From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I know that all families have holiday traditions. Ours are probably different than yours. While we'll be having turkey with all the trimmings this year, the bird has never been the focus of our Thanksgiving feast. Thanksgiving was, is, and probably always will be about dessert in this house. When the children were home, everyone got to pick the dessert they wanted to end the meal. There was always a pumpkin, an apple, a mincemeat and a lemon meringue pie sitting on the sideboard, and because they were so popular back in the day, you'd also find loaves of cranberry and pumpkin bead waiting to be sliced. This year I'm updating some of those traditional desserts, so I'm going to serve a luscious pumpkin and orange cheesecake instead of pumpkin pie. It's a bit of a pother to make, but one bite of this rich and creamy cake will have your socks going up and down. Despite what you may have heard, I do not have nerves of steel, so I make and freeze the cake the weekend before the holiday. I move it to the refrigerator to thaw the night before I want to serve it, so while it takes up valuable space, it makes the cook's life much easier come the big day. This cake has a lovely creamy texture and its faintly orange flavor is enhanced with a caramel sauce that is also orange flavored. It's a lovely riff on an old favorite and I know those of you who try the recipe will love the cake. Here is how it is made.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Kitchen Keeper Original - Small Plate Lamb Meatballs


From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...It's been a deliberately busy weekend. We spent Saturday wandering with  good friends through  Brownsville, and today a slew of visitors mercifully kept us away from the television set. Fortunately, I had soup, chili and meatballs in the freezer, so, no one went hungry, and I was able to sit and actually enjoy the company of my unplanned guests. As I was warming the meatballs, I realized I had never shared this recipe with you. I normally serve the meatballs as an appetizer, but tonight I stuffed them into slider buns to stretch them further. The recipe I use is my attempt to create meatballs like those we had at a favorite tapas bar in Toledo, Spain. These are close, very close. I suspect they are a bit different from others you've tried because they are made with lamb, rather than pork or beef. If you enjoy lamb, you'll love these. They are quite easy to make. I like to prepare them a day before cooking so the flavors of the lamb and mint can meld. That 24 hour timeout is a nice but not necessary step. The cooked meatballs freeze beautifully and while I prefer to defrost them in the fridge, the microwave makes a great substitute if you are pinched for time. Do try these. They are great for unexpected guest or a quick weeknight family meal. And you know what? Emptying the freezer today has freed up space for Thanksgiving make-aheads. Life is good! Here is how the meatballs are made.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Mid-Week Musings


I had been up all night watching election returns and as first light streaked the darkness, I turned off the television and began an internal monologue. My first thought was of old-school Irish wakes where liquor numbed the pain. Trouble was, I knew that no amount of spirits would counter the shock I'd felt earlier that evening. I needed a defibrillator, not a liquid stimulant, so despite the hour, I strapped on a miner's light, grabbed a can of pepper spray and headed to the river trail. I walked until the sun was high in the sky and my legs were as exhausted as my brain. I still could not sleep, but my mind had cleared.

I come from a family of political junkies. My father was raised in Detroit and his first jobs were with the UAW and the Railroad Retirement Board. He left Detroit, and for a period of time was a political operative in the wards of Chicago. He and my mother, a woman born too bright and forward thinking for her era, were New Deal democrats who believed our country had the means to improve the lives of all its citizens. Election night was a high holiday in our home, and because learned behavior is hard to put aside, I, to this day, carry on some of those early traditions. The big question then was always "Who won?" My dad kept a telephone tally of votes and the Chicago machine knew long before the newspapers who had carried the night. Since the televised results of the Kennedy/Nixon election, I do not go to bed until I can answer that question. Now we know.

I'm one of those people who talk with their dead. I've been keeping my mom up to date throughout this election and on the morning of the 8th I let her know it was in the bag. She'd listened to my lament when roars of "jail her" mirrored the "zeig heil" heard in the Reichstag of Nazi Germany. She, metaphorically anyway, held my hand when I described the terrible scar that was exposed when the scab covering festering bigotry, racism, xenophobia and misogyny was ripped from the underbelly of our country. And despite the hard work of men and women hoping to see history made, I had to recant and tell her I was wrong. There would be no transformational moment for women's leadership in the United States.

Autopsie are already underway. When they are completed the press will find no fault with its participation in this drama, and our chief law enforcement agency will sweep their interference in the electoral process under the rug. The lies and mendacity of politicians will continue and Congress will make sure the wealthy, rather than those in the Rust Belt, are taken care of. Campaign coffers will fill with a speed that would embarrass even King Midas, making Secretary Clinton's speaking revenues look like a weekly allowance. However, the group most responsible for this debacle is that portion of the body politic who did not exercise their franchise. They simply did not vote, allowing hot air to rush in and fill the vacuum, and they are about to get their just desserts.

My intent is not to trash our President Elect. He won and is entitled to a period of grace. The world is looking at us and our response to him. Let us handle it with as much dignity as we can muster, and while it will be hard, the office, if not the man, deserves our respect. When I saw those being considered for his Cabinet, the Rape of the Sabine Women rather than the Last Supper flashed before my eyes. My plan is to swallow hard and carry on the fight as best I can. We live in a constitutional democracy that demands our participation every single day, not just in election years.

Liberals need to identify young leaders who can inspire new voters and realistically advance the party without making promises for which there are no funds. The days of "promise them anything but give them Arpege" are over. Demographics are changing and we will have a non-white majority by 2043. I think it behooves liberals to make sure they find a home with us. My hope is that all Americans will hold political parties to the promises they make, and "throw the rascals out" when they do not deliver. Voters need to inform themselves. I'm still amazed that there are groups of people who vote against their own best interest. You should be able to articulate why you are opposed to a government program, and "John says" is not an acceptable argument. With this election women - yes women - have ceded the Supreme Court and their bodies to John. Next to go will be the right to die. You, no we, can stop the erosion of the common good, but it will take active participation on our part. Voting every 2 years is the place to begin, but the state of the nation demands more than that. We can't count on others to carry the water for the rest of us. Start by making yourself known to your representatives and holding them accountable, then join groups that have real political clout. Roll up your sleeves, volunteer and make your voice heard. A single voice can be powerful but voices heard in unison can change the world.

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Kitchen Keeper Original - Pumpkin Pudding Cake with Pecan Sugar Crust


From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Years ago, I kept my freezer stocked with treats for friends who dropped by for a quick visit. These days, those same friends, who, by the way, are some of the best looking seniors in Oregon, usually avoid sweets. As a result, my freezer is heavy on vegetables and fish, and desserts and snacks are kept to a bare minimum. We do, however, make an exception during the holidays, and this weekend I began to feed the freezer for Thanksgiving and Christmas visitors. This pumpkin cake is one of Bob's favorites. It is spicy and moist and has a texture much like that of an apple pudding cake or fudgy brownie. I cut the cake into serving size pieces, individually wrap and freeze them, then reheat them when needed in the microwave. I love to serve this cake warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a small scoop of ice cream. The pumpkin make it seasonally appropriate, but it is different than most of the desserts that are served at this time of year. This is a very rich cake, so you'll want to keep serving size reasonably small. If you do not freeze the cake, keep it in the refrigerator for safe keeping. I know those of you who try this pudding cake will love it. Here is how it's made.

Friday, November 4, 2016

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