The first official Love and Olive Oil Thanksgiving has begun! Needless to say, this is our favorite holiday of the year. We’re not letting the fact that we’re only two get in the way of a fabulous feast…
Starting with our 11.5 pound turkey. (we briefly contemplated the shrink wrapped packs of breast cutlets and turkey legs, but upon seeing the price per pound, our inner cheap-scapes came to life as we realized we could get a whole bird for not much more. and how many days of turkey leftover recipes will you be seeing next week? well, you’ll just have to wait and find out!)
We’ve never cooked a turkey before. On our own. Sure, we’ve watched our parents and aunts and uncles do it countless times. But it’s like driving somewhere… you never really know how to do it until you get behind the wheel yourself.
After researching recipes for a whole 2 1/2 minutes, brined turkey it is! Unfortunately, space in our fridge is very precious, and thus fitting a 5 gallon bucket? Not going to happen.
A better solution:
Tada! (I had a photo of the turkey in there, but it looked too much like a body bag… not appetizing).
In our meager effort not to be in the kitchen the entire day tomorrow, we made our cranberry sauce tonight.
Cranberry sauce with vanilla bean and cardamom. How could you not read the title of that and not want to make it? And seeing that I had purchased a 1/4 lb of vanilla beans from ebay and had not yet found a place in which to use them, the temptation was even greater.
I’ve heard that Thanksgiving is the biggest day for the pizza business. Makes sense? But we were not to fall pray to the melty cheese… no siree! What did we have for dinner tonight?
Pumpkin Waffles! (With ice cream and chocolate syrup, of course!).
So what if we originally planned these for Thanksgiving morning. After making cranberry sauce and battling a bag’o'brine, we just didn’t feel like cooking, even if it was the easy Tomato and Olive Penne that takes a whole 12 1/2 minutes to make. Nope. Pumpkin waffles. And they were worth every bite. And they will be tomorrow as we made WAY too many.
Want to make your own Thanksgiving brunch?
The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. Just add chocolate and ice cream. :)
*note: to make these waffles dairy free, simply add 1 tablespoon cider vinegar to 2 cups plain or vanilla soy milk. Let stand for 5-10 minutes; soymilk will curdle. Use this as a replacement for buttermilk.
For tomorrow, we’re going to make like those super bloggers that blog LIVE from big events. So tomorrow, you’ll get a play by play of our thanksgiving for two (or, at least we’ll try… it may end up being a Friday morning thing, if our Turkey Hangovers are too debilitating…)
Taylor LOVED these sandwiches. We made way too much, but he ate them for 3 meals in a row. I agreed that they had a good flavor and texture, but I thought they needed something more. Like a ‘cooling’ type of sauce. Next time I’d add maybe a cumin/honey/lime/yogurt sauce, even something like we used for the Fish Tacos. I think with all the bread and potato and egg the sandwich felt a bit dry to me, and a yogurt sauce would moisten it. Maybe the Harissa that the recipe mentions (that we couldn’t find) does just that? Who knows! This is definitely one we’ll try again!
Moroccan-style Potato and Egg Sandwiches
Makes 4 servings. Recipe from Epicurious.
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/2 lb Italian frying peppers, cut into 2- by 1/4-inch strips
1 large onion, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3/4 lb boiling potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 Portuguese, challah, or kaiser rolls (about 4 inches in diameter)
extra-virgin olive oil
harissa (spicy North African condiment) or cayenne (optional)
Cover eggs with cold water by 1 1/2 inches in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan and bring to a rolling boil, partially covered. Reduce heat to low and cook eggs, covered, 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let eggs stand in hot water, covered, 15 minutes. Rinse eggs under cold water 5 minutes to stop cooking. Peel eggs and quarter lengthwise.
Meanwhile, toast cumin seeds in a dry 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant and a few shades darker, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool, then grind to a powder in grinder. Transfer to a small serving bowl.
Cook peppers, onion, potatoes, salt, and pepper in oil in same skillet over moderate heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned and very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut off an end of each roll and pull out some of bread from center to form a wide deep pocket in each roll. Put 2 egg quarters in bottom of each pocket and fill with vegetable mixture. Top filling in each sandwich with 2 of remaining egg quarters and sprinkle with some of cumin.
Serve sandwiches with remaining cumin and oil and harissa for seasoning.
This sounded interesting, so we thought we’d try it. We had apples leftover from last weeks Pork that needed to be used, so why not? It was an involved recipe, to think that this guy made this for a ton of people under pressure is really unbelievable (the show Dinner Impossible on the Food Network – very entertaining if you haven’t seen it before!).
Next time… we’d cook the leeks differently. Boiling them didn’t give them much flavor. We’d sautÃ© them first, then braise them in broth and white wine until they practically fell apart.
But the salmon was good and the apple sauce was a unique combination. A very apt meal for fall, and a great way to use up all those apples!
Salmon over Creamed Leeks with Apple Butter Sauce
Makes 6 servings. Recipe from Robert Irvine.
Apple Butter Sauce:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 apples (your choice of variety), peeled, cored and diced small
2 cups apple juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
Cream sauce for leeks:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, chopped
1 cup white wine
6 leeks, white and tender green parts only, cut into 12 pieces lengthwise and thoroughly soaked in salt water to release grit
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 (8-ounce) salmon fillets
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Cayenne pepper, to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons oil
1/4 pound vermicelli, deep-fried or 2 tablespoons chopped lemon thyme, for garnish
For the apple butter sauce:
Melt butter in a saute pan and add apples, cooking over medium heat for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add apple juice, orange juice and rice wine vinegar, cover and allow the apples to cook until very soft. Then uncover and allow liquid to reduce to about 1/3 of what you started with. Puree in a blender or food processor. Create a slurry by gradually whisking cornstarch into about 1/4 cup water and blend the slurry into the sauce. Return the sauce to the pot and allow to cook for a few minutes to thicken. Season with salt, if needed.
Begin the creamed leeks while the apples are cooking.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat and saute onion until translucent. Deglaze the pan with wine and reduce until the liquid is almost all gone. (While you are waiting for the wine to reduce, start cooking the leeks.) Cook the leeks in simmering water until tender. Drain and set aside. When the wine has mostly evaporated, stir in the cream, season with salt and pepper, and lower heat to a simmer to allow to reduce and thicken. Strain this sauce and pour over the leeks and set aside briefly in a warm place.
For the fish:
Season the salmon fillets with coarse sea salt and both peppers. Place a little oil into the saute pan and bring to smoking point (you need a hot pan in order to get a crispy outside). Cook the salmon, skin side down leaving undisturbed (no peeking) for about 5 minutes, or until the skin begins to get crispy, then turn and begin cooking for 4 minutes more. This allows the surface of the fish to “caramelize.” (You may need more time on the salmon depending on the thickness). You can, if you wish, finish the salmon in a preheated 350 degree F oven. However, DO NOT OVERCOOK THE SALMON. Once you touch the flesh and it springs back up, it’s cooked. Remember, because of carryover cooking, the fish will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven.
Reheat the apple butter sauce if necessary. Place 4 lengths of the creamed leeks on one side the serving plate, with a salmon fillet on the other. Spoon apple butter sauce on the fish and garnish with lemon thyme. (Please note: In the episode, since we had the deep- fryer going, we deep-fried some vermicelli pasta for a garnish with a flourish. You can do the same or use lemon thyme.)
In my obsession with all things pumpkin, I found this recipe. When we went to make it, however, we made an executive decision to leave the pumpkin out. We felt there were TOO many things going on in this recipe, and decided that simplifying it would be in our best interests.
The results were delicious. A yummy peanut sauce and perfectly spiced seafood were a delicious combination. The pumpkin was not missed at all. We also added some coconut milk to the sauce to thin it out a bit, and a bit of sesame oil for some toasted flavor. If you’re not a big seafood fan this same noodle/sauce combination would be great with chicken or beef, or plain by itself. Delicious.
Peanut Curry Noodles with Seared Shrimp & Scallops
Makes 4 servings. Recipe from Rachel Ray, with modifications.
1 package noodles (we used the refrigerated kind found by the wonton wrappers)
5 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 inches ginger root, minced or grated
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 to 1/3 cup tamari dark soy sauce
2 rounded tablespoonfuls red curry paste
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup light coconut milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoons five-spice powder
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 diver scallops, trimmed and patted dry
4 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces, then thinly sliced lengthwise into matchsticks
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
Heat a large pot of water for noodles. When water boils, add noodles and cook according to package directions.
While noodles cook, heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil. Add garlic, ginger, red bell pepper, and pepper flakes to the pan and cook together a couple of minutes, then add peanut butter and melt it. Whisk soy into peanut butter, then stir in curry paste. Turn down the heat to low. Add sesame oil, coconut milk, and brown sugar and stir until combined. Adjust seasoning as necessary (you probably won’t need salt, but taste just in case).
Heat a small to medium skillet over high heat. Rub seafood with spice powder. Add 3 tablespoons of remaining oil to hot skillet. Place the shrimp in the pan and cook 1 minute, flip and sear the other side until just opaque. Remove shrimp to a plate and set aside. Add another 3 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and heat back up to smoking. Add the scallops and sear on both sides until opaque. Remove scallops and add to the plate of shrimp.
Drain noodles and return to pot. Add the sauce and toss thoroughly. Serve noodles on plates and top with scallions, cilantro, and seafood.