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
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
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
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
Dinner guests who visit the house often have some form of dietary restriction: carb-, gluten-, grain-, or sugar-free, vegetarian, vegan, flextarian, only white-meat chicken-eater, allergies (shellfish, nuts, dairy), etc. You know what I'm talking about. I understand. Am a selective eater myself. [Ed. note: Run away run away run away do not comment I want to live...]
However, this summer has been about streamlining, making things as easy as possible. This dinner is the perfect solution. Have to give props to the BF, who suggested that kebabs would be a good accompaniment. [Ed. note: I can't help myself. I like good food, ok?]
This is especially effective for a dinner-party menu. Serve your favorite hummus for appetizers, follow up with two entrees: Roasted Harissa Spiced Ratatouille and Chicken Kebabs. The ratatouille will satiate the vegan guest and be a nice side dish for the carnivores. FYI, this dish is gluten free, grain free, Paleo and vegan.
Have been on a harissa kick lately, adding it to shrimp skewers, lamb patties, and roasted Japanese eggplant. Harissa is a spicy aromatic North African chili paste made out of hot chili peppers (which are often smoked), roasted red bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and spices like cumin, coriander, caraway and mint. It comes in sauce form or paste, as you can see in photo below. I used a mild harissa sauce for this dish, but next time might opt for the paste, which is spicier and more concentrated.
Adapted from: Gourmande in the Kitchen
Number of servings: 4-6
Give me nothing but eggplants and tomatoes until summer ends! This meal embodies everything I love about summer produce. Minimal prep and cooking, with exploding flavors. The BF loved it with saffron rice as a complimentary side dish.
Today, we honor both our mom's birthdays (his was the 3rd, mine the 4th), and this weekend we celebrate Marlowe's recovery from cancer surgery. Life is good.
Adapted from: Feasting at Home
Number of Servings: 2-3
Gremolata (Zesty Italian Herb Sauce)
Gremolata (Zesty Italian Herb Sauce)
If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know the BF lusts for all things lemon. [Ed. note: LEMONS] Turns out this is genetic, as his Mom was a huge fan of the sour cream lemon pie from Marie Callender's. [Ed. note: Can confirm.] And my Mom loved lemon meringue pie, dare I say almost to the point of being on equal footing with chocolate.
Well this pie isn't just lemony, tart and creamy, it's low carb, as well as sugar, gluten, nut and grain FREE. A perennial favorite, and #GuiltFree.
Broke this out for a client's Fourth-of-July BBQ, along with several other desserts like s'mores bars, ice cream sandwiches, blueberry hand pies, a flag cake and raspberry-nectarine plum cobbler. The pie was swiftly, voraciously decimated down to the last crumb, and most guests were unaware of the ingredients. Tasted like the real deal.
Try it out! Fool your friends! And hope you are all enjoying a wonderful summer.
In other news, a Marlowe update: our beautiful chocolate lab mix is recuperating from a recent surgery to remove a malignant mast cell tumor. So it's a bit like a slumber party in our living room, as we don't want her popping a stitch trying to hop on our rather tall bed. She's doing well and we're counting the days until those stitches are removed, then she can resume chasing squirrels, barking at the UPS guy, jumping on her favorite people, and going on her favorite long walks.
[Ed. note: We thank our family and friends for the kind words and well wishes. Please feel free to click an ad link so we can pay this vet bill! ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ ]
Adapted from: All Day I Dream About Food
Number of servings: 10
Low Carb Almond Flour Crust
Low Carb Almond Flour Crust
All apologies. It's been a while. There's a great excuse, though.
I traveled with my sister Julie to Bangkok, Thailand for two weeks to help my teacher/acting-coach big brother John move back to the States. Arduously busy, yes (this was not your typical move), and somewhat bittersweet for him, as he had lived and worked there for twenty years.
While there, my sister and I lived off the street food along the daily one-mile walk from our hotel to my brother's apartment. Breakfast consisted of a single, perfectly delectable marinated pork-strip skewer. A late lunch or dinner was a shared salad-in-a-bag, or fresh steamed corn, stripped off the cob to eat easily while walking. Such a beautiful country, I will certainly return someday with the BF. [Ed. note: I shall hold you to this.]
Back home, I have been craving any food that reminds me of the Thai street food: fresh, bright, flavorful and healthy. This herby green avocado sauce is super easy to prepare and literally works with anything. To wit, use it as:
Adapted from: Alexandra's Kitchen
Number of servings: ¾ cup
Grilled pork skewers. Breakfast of champions.
Fresh salad in a bag. Lunch...sometimes dinner.
Fresh guava slices on Silom Road (the best Lebanese food I've ever had was from the Silom district).
My Darling restaurant on Khao San Road.
Thai BBQ with my brother John and sisters, Julie, Tai, Pantene and Momay.
Missed these two! Thank you for holding down the fort!
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.