Sir Wraps-a-lot

I am craving one of these sooo bad! I’ve been gluten-free all month and it’s wraps and morning pastries that I miss the most. The gluten-free thing isn’t going as good as I hoped. I am trying it for better joint health but have felt no improvement. I think I’ll try adding more gelatin to my diet next. But while doing this, I have definitely started some great non-bread and pasta habit that I’ll try to keep. But the minute I decide to add more gluten, I’m having a wrap. 

I usually pick up a package of lavash and just have it around to make leftover wraps. It is one of my favorite ways to recreate leftovers. All you need is a spread (hummus, pesto and hummus, cream cheese, dressing, anything really), some greens (I love spinach, arugula or super greens), a cheese (feta or goat are preferred), a meat (steak, turkey, chicken, tofu) and addition fun stuff (peppers, avocado, cucumbers, red onion, cranberry sauce). 

This one was a great use of leftover turkey dinner. 

Let me know what are your favorite combinations. 

   
 

Advertisements

No Fail Pie Crust

Did you know that with an extra 30 minutes, you could have the most flaky and delicious pie crust for your creative self to add any kind of sweet or savory goodness to? I still think buying a pie crust is the easy option but there’s something extra in your pie when you make the crust. Maybe somehow, a little extra love gets into the pie during the kneading and rolling  process. Maybe it’s the massive amount of butter. Whatever it is, people always comment on this crust recipe when I make our pies. 

   
 No Fail Pie Crust (recipe from Williams-Sonoma)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

* 2 Tbs. sugar

* 2 tsp. salt

* 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

* 6 to 8 Tbs. ice water

* 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 Tbs. water

In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (I don’t have a food processor so I just use a bowl, pastry cutter and fingers to combine everything) Add the 6 Tbs. ice water and pulse twice. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 tsp. at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide in half. Shape each into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. 

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. Place 1 dough disk between 2 sheets of lightly floured waxed paper and roll out into a 12-inch round about 3/16 inch thick. Transfer to a 9-inch deep-dish pie dish and press the dough into the dish. Trim the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold under the excess dough and, using your thumb, decoratively flute the edges. Roll out the remaining dough disk in the same manner. Cut into long strips for the top of your pie. Or save if your pie doesn’t need at top. Place the piecrust and strips in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven. Place a baking sheet on the rack. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Brush the edges of the crust with the egg mixture. Line the piecrust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Place the pie dish on the preheated baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment and weights and bake until the crust is light golden, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. 

Makes enough dough for one 9-inch deep-dish piecrust plus decorative top and a little extra or two pie crusts. 

Thanksgiving Leftover

What did you do with your leftover turkey?

20141201-195249.jpg

We boiled the carcass with some water, carrots, parsley and half an onion for 2 hours. After draining the stock, we were left with 3 and a half quarts of roasted turkey stock.

Two of those quarts went into the freezer and the other one and a half went into a pot of turkey posole.

I just diced an onion and sauted it in a TBSP of olive oil. Then I added half a can of tomato paste, 5 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp of cumin, oregano and chili powder along with a bay leaf. I sauted this until the tomato paste got a bit of brown coloring. Then I added the stock and cooked it for 30 mins. I added a drained can of hominy (29 oz) and shredded turkey. Salt to taste and then serve with diced avocado, sour cream, sliced cabbage, diced white onion, cilantro, lemon and tortilla chips.

This was a perfect leftover meal for our rainy day today.

Last Year’s Turkey: Hoping to recreate the magic

So last year, I BBQ’d the turkey. It was ah-maze-ing. Truly. It was golden and juicy. Even the white meat was delicious (I’m a dark meat kinda girl but dang the whole bird was so good).

Of course, I didn’t document the recipe. So, I’m going to make one up/partially remember and jot it down. I hope it works as good this year as it did last year. I’ll let you know after Thanksgiving.

The Best BBQ'd Turkey

BBQ’d Turkey on a Gas Grill

  • 1 16-18 pound turkey (we use Mary’s heritage birds), giblets and neck and all the other strange stuff inside removed (save the neck and leftover carcass for stock)
  • Brining mix (I use Stonwall Kitchen’s Farmhouse Brine)
  • 2 quarts of water
  • Brining Bag
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 cups of chardonnay
  • handful of fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 yellow onion cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 orange cut in half
  • 1/2 head of garlic (1 whole head cut in half across the cloves)
  • salt and pepper

The day before Thanksgiving: Clean your bird and then put her in the brining bag then put the whole thing in a foil roasting pan. Heat 1 quart of your water in a big pot and add the brining mix. Let cool. Once cooled, add the brining mix, water and extra 1 quart of water to the brining bag/turkey. Refrigerate the whole thing for 12 – 24 hours.

Thanksgiving Day: Remove the turkey from the brining bag and rinse with cold water. Pat dry. Salt and pepper the inside of the cavity. Fill the cavity with the thyme, onion, orange and garlic. Tie up your bird so the legs and wings are held in tight to the bird. Add pea sized pieces of butter under the skin (use care doing this so you don’t break the skin). Salt and pepper the outside of the bird.

Put the bird, breast-side up, on a foil roasting pan and let her rest.

Heat remaining butter in a pot. Add Chardonnay and put 1/2 the mixture in the bottom of the roasting pan.

Getting Ready

Ignite the grill and turn all burners to high. Close the lid and preheat 10 to 15 minutes to bring the grill to 500 to 550 degrees. Set two side burners to medium heat and turn off the center burner. Position your turkey in the pan in the center of the cooking grate and place the lid on the grill. Try to keep the grill covered unless your basting it. I remember basting the turkey about 4 times. If you see the bottom of the pan getting dry, add more of your Chardonnay/butter mixture to the bird.

Cook 11 to 13 minutes per pound or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh not touching bone registers 180 degrees and the juices run clear. Transfer turkey to a platter. Let stand for 15 minutes before carving.
Happy Thanksgiving!!! xoxoxo

Green Bean Casserole – another Thanksgiving staple

Casseroles seemed so nasty as a kid. It was a hodgepodge of veggies and some meat mixed with cream of something soup and then baked. But that actually sounds delicious. It is an easy one-pot meal that was a staple growing up. I’m not sure who thought up the green bean casserole as a side dish to Thanksgiving but it’s another necessity.

And to help save time on Turkey Day, make this the night before and store it in the refrigerator. Just leave off the onions until you are ready to pop it in the oven.

It also travels really well. So make extra and bring it to the in-laws.

Green Bean Casserole

  • 4 big handfuls of fresh green beans (sorry, I’ve never weighed it), ends trimmed
  • 1 lb of crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS flour
  • 1 shallot, sliced thinly
  • 3 TBS cream (not necessary but come on, it’s the holidays)
  • 1/4 cup or so of milk
  • 1 package of fried onions (6 to 8 oz)

Boil some water in a pot big enough to hold your green beans. Cook the green beans until just fork tender. Then blanch them in cold water to stop the cooking. Set them aside.

In a pan, melt the butter and oil. Add the shallots and mushrooms and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are just tender.

Add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Then slowly add the cream then the milk. The mushrooms should be swimming in the scrumptiously rich sauce. Cook a bit more until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.

Put the green beans in a casserole dish and pour the mushroom sauce over it. Give it a little stir and then shake the fried onions over the top.

Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Gobble, gobble.

Another post without photos – Pumpkin Pie

Ok, like I mentioned in the cranberry sauce post, I’m trying to get all my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving in here. And this is one of my favorite Pumpkin Pie recipes. WARNING: if you don’t like spicy pies, this recipe isn’t for you. There’s plenty of cinnamon and ginger to make your pumpkin (and your heart) sing the happy holiday song.

Seriously though, can we talk about how quickly Thanksgiving has come? You know what? Nevermind. I’m going to try a new approach to the holidays (no complaints). I’m already giving thanks for all our blessings, family and friends. Wow, I’m so full of love all of a sudden. What a difference a new outlook makes!

Ok, on to the most scrumptious pumpkin pie…Happy Thanksgiving! xoxoox

Spiced Pumpkin Pie (adapted from epicurious.com)

  • 2/3 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 TBS flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 TBS light molasses
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 pie crust (if you’re motivated pate sucree is a great pie dough but store bought is fine too)

Place baking sheet in oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

Whisk first 8 ingredients together in a large bowl to blend. Whisk in pumpkin, molasses and eggs, then the cream. Pour mixture into frozen pie crust or pre-baked homemade crust.

Place pie on preheated baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake until sides puff and center is just set (about 40 minutes). Cool and serve at room temp with fresh whipped cream. (pie can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated.)

Happy Turkey Day!!

(late edit) Adding a photo of munchkin making her first pumpkin pie:

stir, stir, stir

stir, stir, stir

IMG_3457

cook, cook, cook

 

Thanksgiving Stuffing

Our family has always called that yummy bread dish that so deliciously compliments the Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing. I don’t recall it ever being actually in the bird, though. And so, technically we are wrong. It should be called dressing. But we aren’t changing and neither is this very basic recipe (with the small exception for our vegetarian sister who gets her own version sans meat and with veggie broth).

If you aren’t a fruits and nuts kinda gal or dude, this is your recipe for Thanksgiving stuffing (I love fruits and nuts, don’t get me wrong – I am a CA native – but they do not belong in the stuffing).

Thanksgiving Stuffing

  • 1 lb of Italian sausage (bulk if you can get it but I usually just squeeze it out of the casing into little dime size balls)
  • 8 oz bag of herb stuffing (lightly seasoned or not at all)
  • 8 oz bag of cornbread stuffing (lightly seasoned or not at all)
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 TB poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

In a large bowl, add the stuffing bags and seasonings.

In a pan, brown the sausage. Remove the sausage from the pan and add it to the stuffing bowl.  Add the butter to the sausage pan (keep the sausage drippings in the pan). Add the onion and celery to the pan and scrape up any brown bits. Once the veggies are cooked to your liking (almost translucent), remove from the pan and add it to the stuffing bowl.

Add the chicken broth in stages just until the stuffing is moist. You might need more or less depending on your stuffing.

Bake at 350 degrees, covered for 30 mins. Then remove the cover and brown the top for 5 mins.

Enjoy!!