Happy New Year!
Have you heard of Veganuary? No? It's a 30-day challenge of eating plant-based foods. Won't be doing it straight for a month, but two-three times per week is great. [Ed. note: Through the NFL playoffs? Are you insane, woman?]
This red kidney bean curry (a.k.a. Rajma) is like a vegetarian chili, but with Indian spices. Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, this super-easy-to-make (20 minutes, start to finish), freezer-friendly and budget-conscious dish is fantastic served with rice, quinoa or naan bread. Great veggie sides include roasted yams, roasted cauliflower or sauteed greens like spinach, kale, or chard (if you're trying to be low carb).
Full disclosure, I was a little hesitant to offer this to the BF. Not because he doesn't like vegan meals, but because he's not a huge chili fan; he likes, but doesn't love beans. So I can't tell you how surprised I was that he loved this. I mean, really, really, truly inhale-a-bowl-and-ask-for-more loved this. [Ed. note: You tricked me! Curses!] #Winning
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Number of servings: 6
Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, ang nefer took da treat...
A 14-pound Thanksgiving turkey? Roasted in less than 90 minutes? [Ed. note: You're really jumping the shark with this one.]
No, it's true! This turkey is truly a Thanksgiving life-saver. No wet brining (a nightmare) or basting (keep that oven door closed). Last week's "blog test" bird was so sumptuous the BF forgave me for not serving stuffing with it.
The secret: butterflying (a.k.a. spatchcocking) the bird and giving it a dry salt brine. You get a crispy, salty skin, juicy meat on the inside, and boy my brother Mike loves the word "spatchcock."
For directions on how to spatchcock a turkey, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt has the perfect walk-through here: www.seriouseats.com/2012/11/how-to-spatchcock-cook-turkey-thanksgiving-fast-easy-way-spatchcocked.html. The bird will have to be prepared this way before you make the dry salt and baking powder brine.
Last year for Thanksgiving, the BF and I hosted six guests and served a 14-pound spatchcocked turkey. Baked it at high heat for 85 minutes. The skin practically cracked when you picked at it, the meat was succulent and moist. This is now the one and only way I ever roast chicken or turkey.
Need further testimony? Serious Eats' Lopez-Alt explains, "Spatchcocking is a method of removing the turkey's backbone to flatten its body prior to putting in the oven. This flatter shape ensures that the meat cooks more evenly and more quickly, allowing the legs to reach a safe temperature without overcooking the breast. The result is hands-down the easiest, most reliable route to a juicy, moist turkey with incredibly crisp skin. It may not look like a traditional Thanksgiving centerpiece, but your tastebuds will certainly thank you."
The BF, Marlowe and I thank you and wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
PS: A year ago we geared up for the holidays with this gingerbread roll with eggnog whipped cream (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/gingerbread-roll-with-eggnog-whipped-cream). Everyone wants a log. [Ed. note: From Blammo™.]
Adapted from: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Serious Eats
Number of servings: 10-12
Directions - Butterflying/Spatchcocking Turkey
Ingredients - Dry-Brine (prepare 24-48 hours ahead of time)
Ingredients - Turkey
I probably drive the BF crazy [Ed. note: like no one else, and for some reason I can't help myself], but I start asking him to choose his birthday cake-dessert about a month before his birthday. Usually give a choice of some great found recipe that includes either apples, caramel, butterscotch or lemon. Love hunting for the perfect recipe, with the goal of getting his eyes to bug out.
These apple pie bars are a client favorite, and whenever I make them the BF ends up in the kitchen, plaintively staring and asking if there are "extras." [Ed. note: "Oh those were for the clients?"] Needless to say the dessert has become one of his favorites, so I decided to make it for his birthday in lieu of a traditional cake. This was a very special birthday, by the way. [Ed. note: #LOLOLD]
One of the great things about this dessert is the shortbread dough is used for both the bottom crust and crumble on top. (Meaning there's no pie crust to roll out.) As the brilliant Ina Garten likes to say, "How easy is that?"
To really send it over the top, drizzle the bars with gooey caramel (optional, but recommended). Perfectly okay to eat with your hands, or dish/bowl them up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
In addition to offering an alternative to your everyday pedestrian cookie, these bars have another perk: they travel well. Simply wrap up the baking pan and cut the bars when you get to your destination. As for optimal portion size, Garten advises, "I cut the bars in fairly large 3 x 3-inch squares if I'm serving them on a plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. If I'm serving them on a platter of small petits fours to pick up with your fingers, I'll cut them in smaller bite-size pieces."
PS: Speaking of Thanksgiving, a year ago we were thinking ahead with this whipped cranberry butter (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/whipped-cranberry-butter). Also, Adam Sandler sings!
PPS: Another client-approved holiday-time dessert, your friends and family won't know this yummy mini pumpkin cheesecake is sugar-free and low-carb. That is, unless you tell them. So don't. (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mini-pumpkin-cheesecake-sugar-free-and-low-carb)
Adapted from: Ina Garten, Cooking For Jeffrey
Number of Servings: Makes one 9 x 13-inch pan
Pommes Duchesse. Sounds fancy. Looks fancy. But really, this is simply a fun way of "piping" mashed potatoes into a baking dish, just in time for the Thanksgiving countdown (in my book, never too soon).
These potatoes are an always-requested Thanksgiving staple in our household, and also a perfect accompaniment to any poultry or red meat (as one of our relatives is not fond of turkey). Another regular vegetarian guest annually asks, "You're making the potatoes, right?"
Looking more elegant than regular mashed, they work well for any special occasion, and aren't any more difficult to make. [Ed. note: Don't say this to your guests. Lie. Lie and tell them it took you months to prepare this and those ingrates should kiss the ground you walk on and okay I'll shut up.]
The original recipe calls for piping the potatoes into eight puffs of potato swirls. Those are glorious, and I've made them that way many times, but here I decided to freestyle the swirls and just make a decorative pattern in the baking dish. Either way you decide to do it, it's good.
If you don't have a pastry bag and a piping tip, just spoon the mashed potatoes into the baking dish and create decorative swirls with the tines of a fork. The end result will still be crispy on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside.
However you decide to present them, Pommes Duchesse will be an impressive addition to any holiday (or everyday) feast.
PS: A year ago we were feeling pretty healthy with this butternut squash soup with red curry croutons (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/butternut-squash-soup-with-red-curry-croutons).
Adapted from: Geoffrey Zakarian, The Kitchen (Food Network)
Number of servings: 8
[Ed. note: Once again, since it's Halloween, our four-pawed special-guest blogger returns.]
Okay. Hello. Marlowe here. Mom and Dad say it okay to write because I has a did last Halloween (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mini-butterscotch-apples) and then also as well again repeated here (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/sauteed-white-beans-with-kale). Dad better give me raise of more treats or I bite him. [Ed. note: We'll talk.]
Mom say Halloween one of her favorites times of year, which I no understand because weird little people ring doorbell all night and everybody tell me to stop barking. But I guess okay since little people very nice to me and give me lots of pets and scritches. Howevers nobody let me have any of small packages that they put in their bags, maybe I need to talk to union repersentartive.
Since it Halloween, Mom and Dad dress me up. You may remember I was UPS driver last year. This year I something called Little Red Riding Hood, and also a lumberjack. Mom like Riding Hood since good story, Dad like lumberjack because he keeps singing some silly song and I no know what a Monty Python is. Also not want speculate what Dad do in spare time. [Ed. note: More treats, yes! I think we can work something out.]
Mom says to tell you this cake like "little bite of autumn on your plate," which strange since though I a dog even I know you no can put a season on dinnerware. Duh. Oh, she also say this no need frosting and what the fresh hell who are you Mom?
Besides weird little people ringing doorbell, Mom and Dad like to put on even weirder movies like Hocus Pocus, The Blair Witch Project, Shaun Of The Dead, and The Shining. Me no like when that guy puts face through the door.
Mom and Dad say wish you all Happy Halloween, and Dad say please click ads on right-hand side because that give me more minty treats that good for teeth.
Thank you for reading and hope you like bundt cake!
PS: Last year Mom also went crazy with pumpkin motif and this quote-unquote epic pumpkin bread (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/epic-pumpkin-bread).
PPS: We no just stuffing ourselves with pumpkin stuff and candy, also try be healthy with this butternut squash chickpea stew, which Dad should have more of because he taking shape of school bus I always afraid of (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/butternut-squash-chickpea-moroccan-stew).
Me also not know what up with "Amok Amok Amok."
I wish I were a kitteh, just like my dear Papa!
Adapted from: Cozy Cakes Cottage
Number of servings: 10-12
Halloween looms [Ed. note: OoooOoOooOooo], and I love making this soup every October. Recently, the BF and I had a good friend over for dinner, and she specifically requested it. I served biscuits with jalapeno butter, a crispy green salad, and various soup toppings for everyone to add what they like.
If you're familiar with the blog, you know I don't like super thick, heavy soups, so I lightened this up to my liking. The recipe also calls for ham, which I left out. Usually I prepare this vegetarian, but this time included crispy pancetta as a topping. You can leave it out, of course.
The pumpkin is really a nice background flavor. Key word is "background," as both the BF and guest did not realize pumpkin was one of the main ingredients.
Speaking of ingredients, I made a ton of changes to the original recipe:
My favorite stress-free kind of dinner party.
[Ed. note: Chef Jacquie loves her Halloween. How much? ↓↓↓]
A very vintage Steiner Halloween (Portland, 1966).
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Number of servings: 9 cups, approximately 6 servings
Soon. The guest blogger returns.
Most evenings, it's just the BF and I having dinner, so I typically halve recipes.
This is an exception.
The full portions are made here because, well, the leftovers are incredible. It also means that our Marlowe can enjoy some bits with her kibble. [Ed. note: CHIMKINNNN! Yes, I speak dog.] The finished product comes out juicy, flavorful, with a crispy skin.
PS: Last year we were really in an Oktoberfest kinda mood when we broke out the sautéed cabbage with caraway (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/sauteed-cabbage-with-caraway). Even worked in the movie Strange Brew. [Ed. note: Take off!]
PPS: The BF spun off the planet when I made these salted espresso fudge brownies. [Ed. note: CAN I HAVE SOME MORE MAN I NEED SOME ELSINORE BEER TO COME DOWN FROM THE RRRRRRRRR] (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/salted-espresso-fudge-brownies).
Adapted from: Dennis the Prescott
Number of servings: 6–8
“It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon.”
-Sarah Addison Allen, First Frost
As much as the BF is a California Boy, the Oregon Girl in me loves autumn and the color orange. [Ed. note: Well too much orange reminds me of bad 1970s-era San Francisco Giants baseball.]
These golden babies are a marriage of crispy, sweet and slightly spicy flavors. Super healthy, and great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a late-night snack.
PS: Last year our beloved chocolate rescue lab Marlowe made her blogging debut with these tasty mini-butterscotch apples (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mini-butterscotch-apples).
Adapted from: Eat Delicious, By Dennis The Prescott
Number of servings: 3-4 side servings
Curry Mayo Dip
Recently my siblings and I were passing online messages about my father. At one point, my older brother Mike said, "Dad's cooking broke down into two categories: it either tasted good, or it was healthy, but generally not both. Or more that his thinking was, if it's healthy, there's no reason to be concerned with it tasting good or not."
This was the 1970s and "health food" was not what is today. Besides my father's tendency towards "more is more" ("Dad, raw oats in the hamburger? Really?"), his Sunday specialty was, no lie, seaweed-soybean waffles. Good God, that was dreadful. [Ed. note: That sounds worse than disco in bell-bottoms.]
Truth told, he was ahead of his time, very disciplined about exercise and nutrition. During WWII, as a teenage Austrian refugee in Shanghai, he took up boxing and sparred with US Marines stationed there. Growing up with my siblings, we never witnessed him missing a workout, no matter the weather or how late he came home from work. He'd jog a couple miles, hit the punching bag, skip rope double-time while running in place, do countless push-ups. Something. Every single day.
We ate 14-grain bread (which tasted like brick and mortar back then), when all I craved was that soft, white Wonder bread that was popular at the time. Now, this is not to say that we didn't have delicious food and sweets at home, just not on Sundays.
Dad passed away on September 23, 1979. Forty years gone. If he could only see us now. See, Dad, we were listening! I'd like to think that he would have loved these veggie burgers.
These days, the BF and I eat healthy, but it has to taste good. [Ed. note: Oh hecks no, inject those soybean-seaweed waffles directly into my veins. :-/ ] And we both love a healthy veggie burger. Am not trying to make this taste like a beef burger, it's not a beef burger, but I will say that I've made hundreds of variations of veggie burgers and the BF and I absolutely adore this one from the talented women at Pollan Family Table.
PS: A year ago I lamented the scourge of jury dury and the terror of a broken refrigerator, survived both, and made Mom's apple cake (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/moms-apple-cake).
Adapted from: Pollan Family Table
Number of servings: 4
Dad's boxing gloves, 2019.
Some San Francisco bay area transplants complain of the "loss of seasons" from whence they came [Ed. note: hey we've got fire, earthquake, mudslide, Cal not getting The Axe...], but won't lie, Septembers are pretty much meteorologically perfect. Warm, but not too warm, and an ideal time to get on with fall food. Hey, it's the Oregon in me.
And this is my gateway meal into fall. The combination of sweet and smoky spices that perfectly complements the salmon, always a hit. We love it with coconut rice, but that's optional.
Now that school has begun, if you're being pulled in a million different directions, you need dinners to be easy. It's not only easy, but I love meals that look fancy enough for company, but yet are super casual, delicious and healthy.
A word about salsas. Mango or tomato salsas are quite common, but don't hesitate to try other fruits and veggies as well. Some of my favorites include: cantaloupe, peach, pineapple, papaya and corn. They all make delicious salsas to accompany meat and fish.
PS: A year ago we launched into autumn with grilled naan, mango chutney pork, chili and yogurt (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/grilled-naan-with-mango-chutney-pork-chili-yogurt).
PPS: Momala's roast chicken was channeled to break last year's Yom Kippur fast, in a decidedly non-traditional style (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mexican-marinated-chicken).
Adapted from: Pinch of Yum
Number of servings: 4-6
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the bay area. Living life with my wildly funny boyfriend and dog Marlowe. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.