Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Black Friday Leftovers Breakfast

Melt butter and fry thick slices of leftover stuffing until warm and crisp.  Top with a sunny side up egg and drizzle with reheated gravy.  Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Last-minute Thanksgiving Tips

  • Start making ice..empty ice trays into freezer bags and refill.  No need to buy a bag of ice.
  • Prepare everything that can be reheated on Thursday
  • Peel and cube in a bowl of cold water and refrigerate..saves lots of time
  • Pour yourself a glass of wine and TAKE FIVE!!! You deserve it!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Cocktail

While your waiting for the turkey to finish, try this Thanksgiving Cocktail.


  • 3/4 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. dry vermouth
  • 3/4 oz apricot brandy
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice
  • maraschino cherry for garnish

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake well.  Strain into a chilled glass.  Garnish with the cherry. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Five Thanksgiving Don'ts!

1.  Don't cater to expectations, cook what you like, not to impress.

2.  Don't be shy asking for guests to bring a dish to share.

3.  Don't plan dinner around the football game.

4.  Don't bring your cell phone or blackberry to the dinner table.

5.  Don't forget to give thanks!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Beginner's Thanksgiving

Hosting your first Thanksgiving feast?  A menu of familiar dishes for which everyone will have expectations, plus the pressure of making a complicated meal in a timely manner, can make even the most experienced cook say "you take over".

  • Build Your Skills Gradually
How do you think Grandma got so good at cooking Thanksgiving? Practice! If you're just starting out, there's absolutely no reason that every item on your menu has to be made by you, from scratch. Your first year, focus on just the turkey, stuffing, and gravy—have guests bring the other dishes. Once you feel that you've mastered these three essentials, the next year do some other dishes. Before you know it, you'll have experience with the entire menu.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving - One Week to go

If you've gone the frozen turkey route, calculate the defrosting time - you might have to start soon.
Never thaw a turkey at room temperature, because bacteria can grow on the turkey's surface.  Simply transfer the turkey from the freezer to the refrigerator and wait, wait, wait.  It takes one day of thawing time in the refrigerator for every four or five pounds of turkey.  A 20-pounder will take five days to thaw; a 16-pounder about four; and a 12-pounder three. 

Spiced Pecan Hostess Gift

Makes about 4 cups
  • 4 cups unsalted pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine pecans, maple syrup, 3 teaspoons salt, pepper flakes, chili powder, cayenne, and chili paste. Toss to coat.
  2. Spread nuts in a single layer on prepared baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, toss with remaining teaspoon salt and let cool. Serve immediately or store, at room temperature, in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Checklist for Tuesday 11/16

Check your shopping list and buy non-perishable items.

If you're serving pie for dessert, make the crusts now.  Prepare the dough, roll it out, and place it in the pie dish (don't forget to crimp the edges).  Put the dish in the freezer.  When the dough is completely frozen, wrap the dish tightly with plastic. 

Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Meringue:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving Checklist for Monday 11/15

It's time to clean out the fridge.  You'll need storage space for the freezer and fridge for the turkey and the do-ahead dishes.

Go through your serving pieces and table linens to see what you need to clean, press or what you will need to buy.

Spicy Cranberry Chutney


  • 3 to 4 jalapenos, finely chopped
  • 8 cups cranberries
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper


Put all of the ingredients in sauce pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until desired consistency, about 40 to 50 minutes.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thanksgiving Checklist

My two-week countdown to Thanksgiving helps you get organized, so that the day
of the feast is easy and  relaxed.


Browse your recipe collection to work out a menu.  What are your favorites:  Where is there room for a little experimentation?

Pick up some turkey wings in preparation for making and freezing a big batch of turkey stock. (recipe below).

Start planning your table decorations.

Creat one big master shopping list, dividing it into three sections:  buy-non perishables (wine, canned pumpkin, frozen turkey). items for the one-week-ahead grocery run.

Golden Turkey Stock


4-1/2 pounds turkey wings, cut in half
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large celery chopped
6 fresh italian parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Arrange wings in large roasting pan.  Roast until deep brown turning once, about 2 hours total.

Transfer wings to a large bowl.  Spoon 3 tablespoons turkey fat from roasting pan into pot (reserve roasting pan).  Add onion, carrot, and celery to pot.  Saute over medium heat until vegetables are golden, about 20 minutes.  Add turkey wings to pot.  Add  2 cups of water to roasting pan; place over 2 burners and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits.  Add liquid to pot.  Add remaining ingredients and enough cold water to cover wings by 1 inch.

Bring water to boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer uncovered until stock is very flavorful and reduced to about 8 cups, about 2-1/2 hours.  Strain stock into large bowl.  Cool 1 hour, then chill until cold, about 3 hours.  Spoon off fat from surface before using.  Can be made 3 days ahead or frozen two weeks ahead.


Thursday, November 14, 2013
* Check that you have all the kitchen equipment necessary to make the turkey and other dishes on the menu.
* Get a head start on biscuits or muffins for the feast by making your own baking mix. Measure the dry ingredients and butter from whatever recipe you’ve chosen and blend until the mixture resembles coarse meal; refrigerate in a sealed plastic bag. When it’s time to bake, there’s no need to bring the mixture to room temperature before adding the eggs and other ingredients.


Thursday, November 21, 2013
* Check your shopping list and buy nonperishable items.
* If you’re using a frozen turkey, you’ll need to thaw it. The safest and easiest way is to put it, in its packaging, breast side up on a platter in your fridge. It will thaw at a rate of 4 pounds per day. Do the math and figure out when you need to start.
* Set the table (no, really). Lay out serving pieces and utensils with Post-its indicating which dish each piece is for, so you don’t wind up serving the dressing with tongs. This will also get you to go through your assorted flatware, glassware, serving pieces, and table linens to see what you need to dry-clean, press, or shine, and what you will need to buy.


Saturday, November 23, 2013
* Bake any breads or rolls now—they will keep for a week in the freezer. After baking, allow them to cool completely, wrap in foil, place in resealable plastic bags and freeze.
 Sunday, November 24, 2013
* It’s time to clean out the fridge. You’ll need storage space in the freezer and fridge for the turkey and the do-ahead dishes.


Monday, November 25, 2013
* Make cranberry sauce or relishes and store in the refrigerator.
* Prepare flavored butters (if desired) to serve on rolls (or to dab on mashed potatoes). Store covered in the refrigerator.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013
* Using a roux in your gravy? (You should.) Make it now and keep it in the refrigerator until go time.
* Tear bread for the dressing into pieces and leave out overnight on a baking sheet. You want stale bread for good dressing integrity. You can also bake the pieces for an hour or two at 200°
* Make soups and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.
* Make your pie dough. Wrap tightly in plastic and keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013
* Hit the supermarket early in the day to shop for perishables.
* Chill white wine, beer, bubbly, etc. If you’ll need more ice, now is the time to buy bags and make sure your cooler is clean.
* Wash and spin-dry salad greens, wrap in paper towels and store in resealable plastic bags in the refrigerator.
* Par-bake your dressing so all you’ll need to do on Turkey Day is reheat it and crisp it up.
* Make pies or other desserts and store according to recipe directions.
* Brining your turkey? For maximum flavor (and moistness), do it now.
* Most important of all: don’t cook dinner tonight. Order in.


Thursday, November 28, 2013
If you’ve followed our advice, today should be a breeze. For the typical menu, here’s what’s left to do.
In the Morning
* Turkey-roasting rule of thumb: Roast an unstuffed bird for approximately 15 minutes per pound at 325°. Do the math and figure out when you need to put the turkey in the oven to hit your scheduled dinnertime. Don’t forget to take resting time into account.
* Cut up everything for salads—except produce that browns easily (like apples)—and refrigerate in a big resealable plastic bag. Prep and chill the salad dressing.
* Make the mashed potatoes. Keep warm in a double boiler. Add a bit of warm milk just before serving if they seem a little dry.
* Thaw and rewarm (or finish preparing and bake) breads according to recipe directions.
* Whip cream for dessert.
Before the Meal
* Reheat dressing(s) and any sides that need it.
* Rewarm soup.
* Assemble any salads you may be serving. Toss with salad dressing just before serving.


Friday, November 29, 2013
* Enjoy your leftovers and rest up. Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s are not too far away—visit for more great holiday tips and recipes!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Slow-Cooker Thanksgiving Sides

Forget about juggling bake times and wedging casseroles around the turkey in the oven.  Using your slow cooker is the secret to an easy Thanksgiving Dinner.



  • 1 1/2  pounds  sweet potatoes
  • 1  pound  parsnips
  • 1  pound  carrots
  • 2  large red onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4  cup  sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1  tablespoon  light brown sugar
  • 3  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 2  tablespoons  balsamic vinegar
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3  cup  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. Peel first 3 ingredients, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Combine parsnips, carrots, onions, and cranberries in a lightly greased 6-qt. slow cooker; layer sweet potatoes over top.
2. Whisk together sugar and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl; pour over vegetable mixture. (Do not stir.)
3. Cover and cook on HIGH 4 to 5 hours or until vegetables are tender. Toss with parsley just before serving.

My First Catering Event!

Catering a small party with mainly appetizers but hey it's a start!..

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tips for Perfect Turkey Gravy

Gravy requires just four ingredients:  pan drippings, poultry stock, flour and seasoning.  For every common gravy problem, there's an easy solution.

Lumps?  You can usually avoid them by stirring flour with stock or water before adding to the drippings.  If not, you can try a stick blender or hand mixer to break up lumps, or pour gravy through a strainer and break them up with a wooden spoon.

Too thick?  Whisk in more stock.  To thin?  Add on tablespoon or flour or cornstarch into a little stock and whisk continuing until you achieve the desired thickness.

Too salty or fatty?  Simply add more stock and re-adjust the thickness.  If you have time, you can chill, skim off the fat and then reheat.

After the big meal, refrigerate leftover gravy in containers to use later on delicious turkey sandwiches!

Follow these quick-fix guidelines - and the rest is gravy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Iron Skillet Revival

The trusty cast-iron skillet - probably a staple in your grandma's kitchen - is reclaiming its place on the stovetop.  A good one has a slick surface so you don't need to add oil to get a nonstick surface.  Just make sure it's properly "seasoned" before you use it for the first time - a simple process of applying a vegetable oil coating to a clean, dry skillet and baking it for an hour or so in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F. (Handle with care, skillet will be hot).

Cooking in cast iron can actually increase the iron content in your food.  Eggs scrambled in a cast-iron skillet can have up to three times as much iron as raw eggs.  Plus it's the champ when it comes to conducting and holding heat evenly at any temperature, making cast-iron skillets a chef's favorite.

And for a surprisingly low price, this cookware is a must-have because it can last for generations.  Just ask your grandma.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Simple Vinaigrettes

Making vinaigrette from scratch is surprisingly simple, once you know the basic formula.

There's no need to buy salad dressing when all the ingredients for a vinaigrette are in your pantry.  And when you make it yourself, you can adjust the recipe according to taste, or create something new.

Basic vinaigrette is three parts oil and one part vinegar.  That's it!  Olive oil and white vinegar are classic, but it's fun and easy to experiment with variations.  Try using grapeseed or nut oil, with flavored, balsamic or champagne vinegar.  Or, for a flavorful twist, add a teaspoon of mustard, minced garlic and fresh herbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper, chopped shallots or capers.

Then simply shake the oil, vinegar and added flavorings to create a flavorful mixture - a container with a lid that twists on is ideal for this.  Pour over your salad, toss and enjoy.  Refrigerate leftovers in the same container.  But when you make vinaigrette yourself, your family will taste the difference - and leftovers just aren't likely.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Roasting Your Roots

Bring out the early flavor of autumn's root vegetables.

Root vegetables are one of fall's best bargains, and they're deliciously versatile, especially when roasted.  Stock up on carrots, potatoes, onions and garlic - not to mention parsnips, beets and turnips - for flavorful side dishes and tasty additions to salads, pastas and risottos.

To roast root vegetables, peel and cut into uniformly-sized chunks (one-inch cubes are ideal) and spread out on a foil or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir to make sure vegetables are evenly seasoned.

Roast at 400 degrees F stirring every 15 minutes.  Vegetables are done when they're lightly browned on the outside and tender inside when pierced with a fork (about 35 to 45 minutes, depending on the size).  Make a large batch on the weekend and store in containers; then you can enjoy the rich flavor of seasonal produce in different dishes throughout the week.

Artisan Cast Iron Dutch Oven Bread

This recipe is a typical one with two rising periods.  Most of this time it's the yeast working and not you! 2 cups water 1...