Monthly Archives: January 2012

Thai Turkey Salad

My new strategy for getting more greens into my diet is to hide them under the other proteins and carbs I eat normally. Keeping some salad greens on hand at all times makes it easy to just clump them on a plate and then top with your meal: roasted fish with puttanesca sauce one night, chicken curry another, even soups and pastas. It’s been great and actually very tasty – an added crunch and peppery bite from the bitter greens.

This recipe was inspired by Real Simple’s section where they show you 10 different ways to use one ingredient. This one: ground turkey. I’m normally not excited about ground turkey. Too lean, not enough flavor. But this recipe surprised me! The sweetness from the brown sugar, plus the fish sauce and some other things I threw in really made is tasty and Grant went back for more.

Great for on top of a salad, or rice or noodles or even couscous…

Thai Turkey Salad


  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. chicken stock
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • Salad mix (with any chopped vegetables you like)
  • 1/2 c. chopped peanuts
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh mint
  • 2 T lime juice

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until soft, 3-4 min. Add ground turkey and cook until browned, 5-7 min. Add chicken stock, fish sauce, brown sugar and soy sauce. Cook until almost all the liquid is evaporated.

Assemble salad mix and top with turkey mixture, followed by mint and peanuts. Finish with fresh lime juice.

This seems so simple and blah, but it really does taste yummy and satisfying.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo


Crock Pot Bratwurst with Potatoes and Sourkraut

This is an interesting way to use your slow-cooker. When I first saw the recipe in Real Simple, I wondered how the brats would get nice and browned when all they do is braise. But to my surprise, they actually turned golden around the edges, although the skins lacked the crunch you’d get from searing them the traditional way. Ah well, this still was surprisingly good and makes your house smell like Oktoberfest.

They recommend serving with dark bread and mustard, but it would even be good piled into a hoagie roll.

Adapted from Real Simple.

Crock Pot Brats, Taters and Kraut


  • 1 1/2 pounds red new potatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • 2 cups sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (or your favorite beer!)
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds bratwurst links
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • mustard, for serving
  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, mix together the potatoes, sauerkraut, onion, broth, wine (or beer), caraway seeds, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Nestle the bratwurst in the vegetables.
  2. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
  3. Sprinkle the bratwurst, potatoes, and sauerkraut with the parsley and serve with toast, butter, and mustard.

You’ll enjoy the kick from mustard with the sausage, potatoes and kraut. Cheers, friends! xoxo

Roast Chicken with Cinnamon-Currant Rice Stuffing

Once you have the perfect roast chicken in your dinner repertoire, you have to start developing unique ways to change it here and there. One new way I’ve started experimenting with is stuffing. Whether it’s a wild-mushroom risotto or rice mixture, I find that a good stuffing can transform our favorite roast chickens.

This recipe is from my mom, so it comes with childhood memories of comfort food. Now that I’m making it myself, I realize the science behind the magic: that tantalizing aroma is from the warm cinnamon and lemon stirred into the rice stuffing, along with the toasted pine nuts, currants and sweet onion.

As a child, I probably wouldn’t have eaten the wild mushrooms that become golden and roasted along with the bird, just swimming in chicken juices, but now they are the perfect flavor addition. I added a few details that make this recipe my own, but I remember its roots. 🙂

Roast Chicken with Cinnamon-Currant Rice Stuffing


  • 1 small onion (or equivalent shallots), finely chopped
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2/3 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 3 T. pine nuts
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 T. dried currants
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 whole large chicken, at least 4 lbs., washed and patted dry
  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced or quartered
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

Preheat oven to 325. Saute onion in oil in heavy saucepan until soft but not brown.  Stir in rice and pine nuts; cook until all are light brown.  Grate lemon rind.  Stir chicken broth, garlic, currants, salt, cinnamon, and lemon rind into rice.  Cook covered over low heat 20 minutes (rice will be slightly chewy).

Fill chicken cavity with rice mixture (make sure you’ve removed the giblets!). Scatter fennel and mushrooms around roasting pan; sprinkle with olive oil and toss to coat. Place chicken, breast side up, in roasting pan, on top of vegetables.  Tie the legs together with chicken twine. Rub chicken skin with olive oil. Drizzle reserved lemon juice over chicken and mushrooms; sprinkle with rosemary.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Roast chicken until juices run clear when thigh is pierced, 1 1/2 hours. Let chicken rest 10 minutes, covered in foil, before carving. Meanwhile, scoop rice into bowl, and serve the mushroom mixture along with chicken juices.

Serve sliced chicken along with sides, and a side salad.

Yummy! That rice stuffing is key. Roasting with the chicken, it takes on all those juices and extra flavor – just wonderful. I certainly plan on making it as a side dish, just adding more liquid and cooking it longer.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Cheater BBQ Pork

There’s probably a special place in you-know-where for people who throw some pork butt in a slow cooker and call it BBQ. If I’m going, then at least I’ll go licking the remains of this cheater’s pulled pork off my fingers.

I first heard about this recipe from @eleanorpie – she and I both subscribe to Lynn Rossetto Kasper’s newsletter/radio show. Ellie said it was a great fake-out, combining the smokiness and tender bite you expect from good barbecue. I have to agree. All you do is throw some pork butt into your Crock Pot with some spice rub and add a bunch of liquid smoke. Done. And to answer a question my mom had: No, the liquid smoke is not too strong – but I also diluted mine with a little beef stock.

The resulting pork is tender and juicy and just waiting to be piled on a soft bun. But not without some killer BBQ sauce. If you’re going to make pulled pork in a slow-cooker, you better (wo)man up and make your own sauce. Grant had some that a friend made and it was the perfect mustard-based sauce for my taste: Peppery and great with red-cabbage slaw. (And more Texas Pete).

If you try this recipe and still decide to be a BBQ elitist with your highfalutin’ smoker thingy, then fine. But I’ll be over here filing my nails while the Crock Pot does its magic.

Adapted from The Splendid Table.

Ultimate Cheater’s BBQ Pork


  • One 5- to 6-pound boneless Boston butt pork roast or same weight of boneless country-style pork ribs
  • 1/4 cup Cheater Basic Dry Rub (recipe follows – I just used some that I had leftover in the cupboard)
  • 1 bottle liquid smoke, plus 1/4 c.-1/2 c. beef stock (or chicken stock, or water)
  • Barbecue sauce of your choice
  • Slaw
  • Buns

Cut the pork butt into medium (2- to 3-inch) chunks (the ribs don’t need to be cut up).

Put the pieces in a large slow cooker (at least 5 quarts). Sprinkle the meat with the rub, turning the pieces to coat evenly. Add the bottled smoke and stock.

Cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or on low for 10 to 12 hours, until the meat is pull-apart tender and reaches an internal temperature of 190 F.

Using tongs and a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a rimmed platter or baking sheet. Let rest until cool enough to handle. Pull the meat into strands. It should shred very easily. (Note: keep the meat submerged in the cooking juices if reserving – this will keep it from drying out – skim off the fat).

Serve the barbecue piled on buns with your favorite barbecue sauce and slaw.

Spice Rub:

Makes about 2/3 cup


  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Beef Bourguignon

If Julia Child had tried this recipe, she would have thrown her 5-hour, Level Advanced boeuf bourguignon straight out the window. I can’t tell you the number of expletives that slipped through my lips as I bit into my first piece of tender, juicy meat, or licked the remains of a sauce rich with bits of bacon, wild mushrooms, black pepper and good red wine. I literally ran my finger over the plate to get every last bit.

This miraculously chic dish came from the cast-aways of my beef tenderloin extravaganza. That’s right – the more fatty, tissuey ends of the massive beef tenderloin. I sliced them thick and prepared them as Ina Garten would use a filet of beef mignon. The result was culinary magic.

I made a few changes to the recipe – for instance, using frozen pearl onions (who has that kind of time?) and reducing the amount of bacon (I didn’t have enough on hand).

I know that I said beef tenderloin should be a once-a-year kind of thing. But whoa, friends, am I rethinking my resolution.

Updated Beef Bourguignon


  • 1 (3-pound) filet of beef, trimmed, or 3 pounds of beef tenderloin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning plus 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/4 pound bacon, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups good dry red wine, such as Burgundy or Chianti
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1/2 pound frozen pearl onions
  • 8 to 10 carrots, cut diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 pound wild mushrooms (I used cremini), sliced 1/4-inch thick

With a sharp knife, cut the beef crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. Salt and pepper the filets on both sides. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot (I used my Dutch oven) on medium-high heat, sear the slices of beef in batches with 2 to 3 tablespoons oil until browned on the outside and very rare inside, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove the fillets from the pan and set aside.

In the same pot, saute the bacon on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, until browned and crisp. Remove the bacon and set it aside. Drain all the fat, except 2 tablespoons, from the pot (or leave it…meh). Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Deglaze the pot with the red wine and cook on high heat for 1 minute, scraping the bottom. Add the beef stock, tomato paste, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered on medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Strain the sauce and return it to the pot. Add the frozen onions and carrots and simmer uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced and the vegetables are cooked.

With a fork, mash 2 tablespoons butter and the flour into a paste and whisk it gently into the sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes to thicken.

Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms separately in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil for about 10 minutes, until browned and tender.

Add the beef slices, the mushrooms, and the bacon to the pan with the vegetables and sauce. Cover and reheat gently for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not overcook. Season, to taste, and serve immediately with crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Le sigh. I don’t have any other good pictures, but let your minds wander…

I’ve already waxed on about how yummy this dish is. And it was kind of fun to make on a day when you have some time to devote to your kitchen creations.

Enjoy, friends!

Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tart

Ever since I cleaned out  my fridge for Thanksgiving, I’ve been obsessive about keeping it neat and orderly. Same with the freezer – I’m committed to using all my leftovers and lost frozen-foods before they go bad. We all waste so much, the least I can do is try…

So that’s why I took a leftover disk of pate sucree out of the freezer to thaw recently. I had made the pate sucree for my pear frangipane tart, so the crust was a bit sweet, but it turned out perfectly with the lemony goat cheese and caramelized onions in my savory tart.

I looked at a few recipes before starting, using lots of cues from Ina Garten (if you have to make your own crust, check out her recipe). Here’s how I did it…

Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tart

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 recipe tart crust (most make enough for 2 crusts – you’ll only need one here)
  • 8 oz. your favorite goat cheese (plain or herbed)
  • 2 T basil, chopped (or any herbs you have on hand)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk or cream
  • S&P
  • EVOO
  • 1 onion, any color, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll dough out to fit your tart pan and pat into place. Place buttered foil on dough surface and fill with pie weights. Bake 10 minutes, then remove weights and prick dough all over with fork. Return to oven and bake another 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside to cool a bit.

Meanwhile, saute onion with a drizzle of EVOO and S&P until browned at the edges. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar, if you have it, and mix to combine. When caramelized to your taste, spoon onion into bottom of tart shell.

In food processor, mix goat cheese, milk, eggs, herbs, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Pour mixture over onions in tart shell.

Bake 25-30 min, until custard is set. Cool another 10 minutes, while you make a simple salad of winter greens and more balsamic vinegar.

Slice and serve!

Yummy. This is not only a delicious vegetarian dinner entree, but we enjoyed it for breakfast, too. The crust is so buttery and perfect, even if its first purpose was to hold a decadent confection.

Here’s to tarts made with “real” crust! Enjoy, friends xoxo