Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Thanksgiving Menu

Ben and I are staying home tomorrow for Thanksgiving.  We had some invitations, but really just wanted to spend some downtime together for the holiday.

Even though it is just the two of us (and Paco!) we are still preparing a holiday meal.

I thought I would share what we are having.  There are many recipes on the internet that I contemplated; I wanted to share the ones we decided on!

Ben is making his Turkey enchiladas. I will prepare the turkey by braising it.  I am removing the breast meat from the bone,  then pan searing.  I will saute a mira poix, leaks, garlic, 2-3 bay leaves, rosemary and thyme then add chicken stock.  This would actually be great with a brown or beef stock, but I want to keep the more natural flavor of the turkey breast for the enchiladas.  (If you are using beef stock, please add some red wine too to make an amazing sauce!  For more of a "gravy" than a sauce, add about 1-2 ounces of flour after sautéing your veggies.  Cook off the flour , then add your herbs and liquids.)  Braise at 350 until done.  A full turkey (cut into pieces) will take about 90 minutes.  Cover with foil and cook until about 165 degrees.  Because we will be using these in enchiladas I will cook until about 155 degrees as to not dry it out.

Ben makes an amazing green enchilada sauce with green chiles, chicken stock, flour, and chile powder.  He stacks corn tortillas, sour cream,  onion, cheddar cheese, turkey and the sauce and bakes until hot and bubbly.  If I am ambitious enough tomorrow, maybe I will create a recipe.

I am making turkey tamales using this Alton Brown recipe.  I have never made tamales but I love them! I am looking forward to trying this.

I am also going to make a Red Sauce for the tamales using this recipe from my friend Sylvia:

Chile Colorado (Basic Red Chile Sauce)

Yield: 2 cups 
Temperature: Medium, Low 
Freezes Well
Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes

2 tablespoons shortening 
2 tablespoons flour 
1/4 - 3/4 cup Red Chile Powder 
2 cups chicken or beef broth 
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic
Oregano (optional ½ tsp)
Cumin (optional ½ tsp)

1.Heat shortening in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, I like to cook until the flour turns light brown.
2.Add chile powder and cook for an additional minute.
3.Gradually add the broth and stir, making sure that no lumps form.
4.Add seasonings to sauce and simmer at low heat for 10-15 minutes.

Since I had to buy masa harina for the tamales, I may try to make our own corn tortillas.  Would you believe William Sonoma did not have a tortilla press?  I am going to have to go old school and roll these out by hand.  I understand getting them thin enough is the challenge!

For sides, I am making these green beans and roasted brussels sprouts.   While you are on the Once Upon a Chef site, check out the scone recipe.  A-mazing!

Dessert?  Of course!  I won't skimp on Thanksgiving.  I am of the camp that believes that I did not become morbidly obese because of Thanksgiving dinner.  It was the other 364 days a year!

This is the recipe I will be making for dessert.    Cinnamon Chai cream pie just sounded too good to pass up!  I will be using Ginger Thins instead of graham crackers in the crust.

I am looking forward to our non-traditional Thanksgiving meal!

We are not going to run any organized 5k this year; instead, Ben, Paco and I will be heading out for our own 5k!    I am actually quite excited to not set an alarm to wake up on time year to be able to drive downtown and park before the 5k we have run the last two years.   There are no times we have to do anything; I think I am looking forward to that more than anything.  Well, spending the weekend with Ben and Paco is actually what I am looking forward to the most.  I got new running shoes tonight so I am eager to try those out too!

These turkeys walked passed our home this morning; Paco wanted nothing to do with them!

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

The First Step... often admitting that you have a problem.  So, here goes.

I, Kel, like to bake.

Nope, that simply does not express it accurately enough.

I, Kel, love to bake.

Hmmm, while that is closer to the truth, I think I need a little more zing.

I, Kel, have a baking obsession.

It was not always like this.  Sure, I remember in high school baking chocolate chip cookies using the recipe on the Nestle package.  I used to babysit for a family, and when they threw big dinner parties, I was always in charge of the baked goods.  As a teenager, I was making Julia Childs' flourless chocolate cake.  I just followed the recipe.  To think, she got all my glory!

There is a precision to baking that I love.  I always so there are those that love to cook, and those that love to bake.  Cooks can take ingredients and swap them out, deciding that today they wish to use twice as much thyme as the recipe calls for, or perhaps to skip the salt, as there is already enough there.

Baking is measuring; it is chemical reactions that should not be messed with.  I really should learn the details of the chemistry, but why?

I came across this English Muffin recipe last week.  I had seen the recipe before, but for whatever reason, the directions on the little red house made me realize that I can do this!  All it would take were two ingredients that I needed to buy; nonfat powdered milk and bar jar lids!

I wish you could have seen my happy dance at the grocery store when I found out that you can buy the jar lids without actually buying the jars!   It was Festival in Vadnais Heights; contact them to see if they have security footage.

I was waxing poetic (ha - in 104 characters or less) on Twitter yesterday about these little babies.

I proudly present to you nooks and crannies!

You don't cut these in half; you gently pull them apart before placing them in the toaster to crisp up.

If you are lucky, you have homemade ricotta and Trader Joe's honey apple butter in the refrigerator.  I make my own luck, and my own ricotta, thanks to this recipe.

I left the house this morning for some exercise thinking it would be pumpkin pancakes upon our return.  Nope.  All I could think about where these english muffins.  With a runny egg.  And black beans.  And salsa.  And cheese.  Don't forget the avocado.  Sorry, no pictures as my appetite would simply not allow it.

So, what is an obsessed baker to do but bake more?  A double batch at that.

Today I successfully made 8 per batch; yesterday I overfilled the lids.

I did not use the gluten in the recipe as the little red house did;  I used white wheat King Arthur flour and was very pleased with the results!

nutrition facts

Fingers crossed that these freeze well!

Enjoy the recipe!