Browsing all posts in November, 2009.
You spent days preparing the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Wine is the perfect accent to compliment your Thanksgiving dinner. The question is…white or red? The answer is either!!! Yes, you can serve red or white wine with turkey. It depends on your preference.
If you like ………………then you must try:
- Dry white wines – Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or a White Burgundy
- Sweet wines — White Zinfandel
- German wines — Gewurztraminer or Riesling
- Red wines — Pinot Noir (served slightly chilled)
- Sparkling wines — Champagne
For recommendations, Wine.com features a Thanksgiving Wine Guide. Here are some of our favs:
- Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Zinfandel ($19.99) — features an aroma of boysenberries, accented by hinted of white pepper.
- Pacific Rim Organic Riesling ($13.99) — features aromas of jasmine and citrus.
- A to Z Pinot Noir (17.99) — features blackberry, raspberry, black cherry and earth.
- Mumm Nape Brut Prestige ($14.99) — features a touch of vanilla and melon.
You really can’t have Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. Well, of course you can. But why would you? You can go the store bought route, but what fun is that? If you have the time and the energy to make a homemade pumkin pie — here are some recipes for you.
For the crust:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 5 teaspoons sugar
- 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the filling and topping:
- 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3 large eggs, plus 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1 cup fresh cranberries, or frozen, thawed and drained
- 1 2.3-ounce package amaretti cookies (about 12)
Make the crust: Combine the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Mix in the cold butter with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Work in 3 tablespoons ice water until the dough holds together without being too sticky. If it’s still crumbly, add more ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough into an 11- to 12-inch circle with a floured rolling pin. Ease into a 9-inch pie pan; press firmly into the bottom and sides. Trim the excess dough, then pinch the edges. Refrigerate until ready to fill.
Place a baking sheet on the bottom oven rack and preheat to 375. Make the filling: Whisk the pumpkin in a bowl with the butter and a pinch of salt. Whisk in 3 eggs and the sugar.
Stir in the cream, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour the mixture into the pie shell. Lightly beat the egg white, then brush onto the pastry edges. Carefully place the pie on the preheated baking sheet, lower the oven temperature to 325 and bake until the pie is set but still jiggles slightly, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the topping: Toast the pecans on a baking sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes; cool. With a knife or food processor, coarsely chop the pecans, cranberries and cookies; sprinkle over the cooled pie.
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
- 1 piece pre-made pie dough
- Whipped cream, for topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place 1 piece of pre-made pie dough down into a (9-inch) pie pan and press down along the bottom and all sides. Pinch and crimp the edges together to make a pretty pattern. Put the pie shell back into the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. Fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. Fill the shell up to the edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 pounds) and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color.
For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, if using, and beat until incorporated.
Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream.
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Thanksgiving is six days and counting. Are you ready to talk turkey tips? While many Americans are watching the Macy’s Day Parade or shouting at their favorite football team, the rest of us are sweating it out in the kitchen. We are chopping, mashing and praying that our turkey turns out. Here are some TURKEY TIPS from Betty Crocker.com :
Kitchen Tools for Cooking Turkey
With these kitchen tools, you’ll be off to a smooth start:
- Meat thermometer
- Aluminum Foil
- Sharpened carving knife and fork
- Cutting board
Nice to Haves
- Oven thermometer
- Roasting bag
- Roasting pan with handles
How to Buy a Turkey
Figure out how much turkey you need by multiplying the number of guests times one pound of uncooked, whole turkey per person. You’ll have enough for the table, as well as leftovers.
Turkeys are available:
- Eight to 24 pounds in weight
- Packaged as a whole or by the half, or as breasts and drumsticks
- Fresh, frozen, and free-range (available by special order from your butcher)
How To Store Turkey
A whole frozen turkey will keep in the freezer at 0°F for up to 12months. A fresh, whole turkey that is refrigerated should be cooked within 1 to 2 days of purchase.
How To Thaw and Prepare Turkey
Thaw wrapped turkey safely in three ways:
- Cold Water that completely covers the bird
Thawing time depends on the thawing method and turkey weight – See our Charts and Tables for guidelines.
Once thawed, do the following:
- Remove the wrapper and paper giblet packets containing the gizzard, heart, and neck. These are tucked inside the neck and end cavities; be sure to check both.
- Rinse the turkey well after removing the giblets and pat dry. Giblets can be rinsed and cooked in a saucepan of boiling water and simmered during turkey roasting time. Use the rich broth for delicious gravy (discard giblets).
How To Stuff a Turkey
Planning to pair stuffing with your turkey? Stuffing the turkey does increase cooking time; if you need to save time, bake dressing in a separate pan.
How Long To Cook a Turkey
How much cooking time will your turkey take?
- Cooking time for turkey brining, roasting, grilling, or deep-frying depends on the size of the bird and your recipe.
- For roasting guidelines, check our Charts and Reference Guides.
- Convection ovens decrease roasting time (check the guidelines for your convection oven).
Oven Roasting and Turkey Cooking Temperatures
Heat is huge with turkey roasting. Manage it correctly with these tips:
- Use an oven thermometer to ensure correct oven temperature for turkey roasting.
- Whether roasting or grilling, use a meat thermometer so you’ll know when the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature. Insert the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the inside thigh muscle so the thermometer does not touch bone.
- Turkeys often come with plastic pop-up indicator. When your meat thermometer or pop-up indicates the turkey is ready, remove it from the oven, grill, or fryer.
How To Baste a Turkey
Basting promotes moist, flavorful turkey. Baste or brush the turkey with pan juices every 30 to 60 minutes of cooking time.
How To Carve a Turkey
Ready to serve? Carve the turkey on a stable cutting board with a sharp carving knife and a meat fork with two tines. Carving is easier if you allow the turkey to stand for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting.
Follow these easy steps for a beautiful presentation:
- Place turkey breast-side up. Remove any ties or skewers.
- While gently pulling leg and thigh, cut through the joint separating them from the body. Drumstick and thighs can be served whole or cut apart.
- Make a deep horizontal cut into the breast just above the wing. Insert meat fork in the top of the breast and, starting halfway up the breast,carve thin slices down to the horizontal cut, working from the outer edge to the center.
- Repeat on the opposite side of the turkey.
How To Store a Turkey
Besure to refrigerate or freeze your turkey within two hours of cooking to keep meat safe from bacteria and ready for another meal.
Want more timely turkey tips?
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Jamie Oliver wants to start a revolution. A food revolution that is with his new cookbook Jamie’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals.
According to Jamie, “My book, Jamie’s Ministry of Food and the TV show are basically about inspiring people to get back into their kitchens and make simple, delicious food from scratch again. The fantastic thing about teaching people how to cook was that they made me realise how different this book had to be from my previous ones. That’s why there are loads of photographs and really clear instructions to help show you exactly how to do everything. I’ve also included recipes that people who don’t or can’t cook told me would inspire them to give it a go. The catch with this book is that once you’ve mastered a recipe I want you teach it to two more people and then ask them to teach it to someone else. In other words… PASS IT ON!”
Mr. Oliver really is the home cook’s BFF. Want to know the key to the best mashed potatoes EVER??? Let ‘em rest for four to five minutes BEFORE mashing. It allows the potatoes to release steam. Mom always said,”If you can read a recipe you can cook.” But, Oliver makes it so easy with step by steps pictures and easy to follow instructions.
Hosting a dinner party? Here’s a recipe that will sure to WOW your guests!
SALMON EN CROUTE*
BTW — “en croute” describes food that is wrapped up in pastry and baked. Pretty fancy.
Serves 4 to 6
- all purpose flour for dusting
- 2 sheets puff pastry, pref made with all butter
- 1 x 1 3/4 pounds salmon fillet (bones removed)
- olive oil
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1/5 cup black olives tapenade paste
- a small bunch of fresh basil
- 2 ripe tomatoes
- 1/4 pound ball of fresh mozzarella
- 1 large egg, pref free-range or organic
- Preheat oven to 400 F
- Get yourself a large, flat sheet pan and dust it with flour
- Dust a clean work surface and a rolling pin with flour. Lay the puff pastry sheets one on top of the other. Roll out puff pastry, dusting as you go, until it’s the same size as the sheet pan (about 12 x 6 inches).
- Place pastry on floured pan.
- Drizzle the salmon fillet with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Transfer to the pastry, skin side down, then spoon the black olive paste over the top, spreading it out into a thin layer.
- Pick the basil leaves and place them over the fish.
- Slice the tomatoes and place them over the basil.
- Tear the mozzarella into pieces and scatter these on top.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
- Gather up the sides of the pastry and pinch and push them together.
- Crack the egg into a cup and beat it with a fork, then use a pastry brush to paint this egg wash all around the pastry edges.
- Place the sheet pan at the very bottom of the pre-heated oven. with an empty sheet pan on the shelf above to protect the top from getting too much heat.
- Cook for 35 minutes.
*From Jamie’s Food Revolution, Classic Fish, page 291.
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About a week before Thanksgiving, an interesting phenomenon happens in the wine world — the release of the Beaujolais. This wine comes from the Beaujolais region of France outside of Burgundy. Here’s a fun fact for you — French law requires that the Beaujolais grapes are hand picked. It is a fun and fruity red wine that actually tastes better if it is slightly chilled. Some wine experts actually call it a “complex” wine.
The downside is you must drink this wine right away. It doesn’t have much of a shelf life. Let’s just say that by the next harvest the wine would be undrinkable. And the best part? Is the price. You can get a decent bottle for $10 to $20. You can pair this wine with turkey too!
Here is just a sampling of some of the Beaujolais you’ll find on wine.com:
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“Politeness and consideration for others is like investing pennies and getting dollars back.“ — Thomas Sowell (1930 – ), Creators Syndicate
The whole RSVP process has became rather tricky between email and snail mail it leaves one wondering — how do I RSVP??? And what does RSVP stand for anyway? RSVP is a French acronym that means “Respondez S’il Vous Plait” translated it simply means “please respond or respond please.”
We do live in a fast paced hurly burly type of world, but regardless no one is too busy to respond to an invitation properly. According to Cathleen Hanson, who is one of the owners and founders of the International School of Protocol, which teaches proper etiquette to children, adults, educators, and businesses, states, “We must RSVP. It is not an option. Think of the host. It is a matter of respecting that other person’s invitation. Even if you are going to decline, you should always contact the host.”
Here are a few simple rules of etiquette to follow when you are going Respondez S’il Vous Plait to your next invitation:
- Respond as soon as you can, preferably the same day you receive the invitation.
- Pay attention to the level of formality of the event if unsure ask or check out the event location online.
- Clearly communicate the number in your party.
- Yes, you do have to reply to Evites and email!
- If you RSVP “yes” the only thing that should prevent you from attending would be illness or a death.
Now if you are the host, please keep in mind the following:
- Provide all the deets — time, date, place, how to RSVP, directions, and type of event.
- Spell out who is invited — sig others, children, friends.
- Avoid “regrets only” this only leads to unnecessary confusion, you’ll want an accurate head count.
Whether you are a guest or the host, be sure to following these tips and you will give Emily Post a run for her money!
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Squash is just one of the many vegetables that reminds us of the bounty of the fall harvest. Not only is squash tasty, this vegetable is packed with B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and potassium. All good vitamins and nutrients to help combat those winter blues!!! But maybe cracking open that hard shell is a bit intimidating for you. It does look like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Never fear Moments of Elegance is HERE to help you tackle this tough veggie and create some delectable dishes.
First things first, you must wash and dry the squash, whether you roast it whole or decide to chop it up. If you are going to chop it up, cut it in half, scoop out all the seeds with a spoon (you can wash, dry and roast the seeds with a bit of sea salt for a tasty treat) and then quarter, slice or dice the squash depending on what you are going to do with it.
Here are some fun squash recipes to try out at home brought to you by AllRecipes.com. Love this recipe site because the recipes are from home chefs and they always provide a story behind each recipe.
- 1 medium buttercup or butternut squash, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch slices
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
Arrange squash in a 12-in. x 8-in. baking pan. Top with apple wedges. Combine remaining ingredients; spoon over apples. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes or until tender.
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons warm water (110 degrees F to 115 degrees F)
- 1 cup mashed, cooked butternut squash
- 1/3 cup warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. In a mixing bowl, combine squash, milk, butter, egg, brown sugar and salt; mix well. Add yeast mixture and 1-1/2 cups flour; mix well. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Divide into thirds; roll each third into a 18-in. rope. Place on a greased baking sheet. Braid ropes together; pinch ends. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Combine glaze ingredients; brush over braid. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
- 1 small onion
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
- 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
- 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
- dash cayenne pepper
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
- 3 cups mashed cooked acorn squash
- salt and pepper to taste
- 5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
- In a large saucepan, saute the onion and celery in butter. Stir in flour, bouillon, dill, curry and cayenne until blended. Gradually add broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the squash, salt and pepper; heat through.
- In a blender, process the soup in batches until smooth. Pour into bowls; garnish with bacon.
- 1 small butternut squash, cubed
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
- 1 red onion, quartered
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).
- In a large bowl, combine the squash, red bell peppers, sweet potato, and Yukon Gold potatoes. Separate the red onion quarters into pieces, and add them to the mixture.
- In a small bowl, stir together thyme, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss with vegetables until they are coated. Spread evenly on a large roasting pan.
- Roast for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and browned.
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We are heading into the home stretch wrapping up 2009. If you got engaged, it probably was a great year for you! So as you plan your wedding, here are some fun 2010 Wedding Trends to keep in mind.
- Less IS well Less — Smaller weddings are still the trend. The average size of a wedding is 150 down from 200 to 250 a few years ago.
- Location, location, location — Couples are getting creative with locations such as art galleries, off beat smaller museums, and restaurants that specialize in wines and small plates. Many couple are even opting for the at home wedding.
- Going techno — For the super cas weddings, couples are using email and custom websites to annouce thier engagements and wedding details — causing Emily Post to churn in her grave no doubt!
According to Lori Stephenson, owner and senior event consultant with LOLA Event Productions, ”Smaller wedding sizes open the opportunity to look at creative venues like galleries, restaurants and loft spaces, not just traditional hotel ballrooms. If a couple in the medical profession are tying the knot they might want to consider a location like the Chicago’s Museum of Surgical Science.”