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Archive for the ‘What we're eating’ Category

Here’s the report on the brining of the Thanksgiving turkey bird: it turned out great, very moist and delicious.  We followed Alton Brown’s recipe for roast turkey on Foodnetwork.com. Apparently, the recipe is the single most popular one on Food Network’s website.  The recipe also comes with a couple of very informative videos which demonstrate how to cook the bird. The videos are well worth the nine minutes it takes to watch both of them.

A couple of points about the cooking process: First, I bought a fancy battery-operated digital meat thermometer like the one Alton has in the video. It was worse than worthless–it declared the turkey to be done after half an hour of cooking. I left the digital thermometer in place while the bird continued to cook, but I carefully added my trusty old-school thermometer to the other side of the turkey and just peered through the oven door window to watch the thermometer so the bird didn’t overcook. Second, the bird cooked quickly. Our 10 lb bird took only about 1 ½ hours to cook (20 mins at 500 degrees F and just over an hour at 350 degrees F).

All in all, the next time you’re needing to cook a turkey, I highly recommend the Alton Brown recipe.

 

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Charlie’s favorite show is Max & Ruby. There’s one episode where Ruby and her best friend Louise start a lemonade stand. Charlie loves that episode and, by extension, now he loves making lemonade (well, technically he loves “helping” me make lemonade which usually means strewing lemon juice and sugar all over the floor). Charlie, however, doesn’t much like drinking lemonade. So invariably we have a bunch of lemonade in the refrigerator at any given time. After a particularly stressful day recently, this beleaguered momma got creative.

Momma’s Lemon Drop Martini

  • sugar for the rim of the glass
  • vodka, to taste
  • fresh squeezed lemonade, to taste
Directions
Pour a small amount of sugar onto a plate. Grab a martini glass and run the rim under some water. Upend the martini glass into the sugar, making sure that a nice amount of sugar sticks to the entire rim. Turn the martini glass over and attend to making the martini. If you have a cocktail shaker, put some ice in the shaker and then combine the vodka and lemonade in whatever ratio you choose. I use about one ounce of vodka and four ounces of lemonade for each martini; more adventuresome souls might wish to up the vodka to lemonade ratio. Give the vodka and lemonade a good shake. Strain the martini into the sugared glass.  If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, just put some ice in a glass, add the vodka and lemonade and stir with a spoon to get the liquid nice and cold. Pour the martini into the sugared glass using the back of the spoon to block the ice from dropping in (it’s not awful to have ice in your martini, but the drink will look classier without it). Sip and relax on a hot summer night.

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If you’ve been reading this blog awhile you know that I love my CSA. I really do. I was thrilled when home deliveries of organic produce started about a month ago. The only problem with the CSA (and I don’t think this problem is unique to my CSA) is that every week I get a lot of greens. You probably can’t imagine how many greens show up on my door step. Just as an example, here’s a recent photo of one week’s delivery:

In case you have trouble differentiating your greens, this includes Swiss chard, bok choi, lettuce, kale, and beets (I eat the greens as well as the beets). Other weeks we’ve had mustard greens, Napa cabbage, senposai, and collards.

While I’ve had success preparing greens a few different ways (some of which I even blogged about here, here, and here), I need additional options. So dear readers, do you have any recipes for greens that you’d be willing to share? I would be most appreciative. Actually, at this point, I suspect Mark would be the most appreciative member of the household. He doesn’t really like greens to begin with and yet they keep appearing on our dinner plates cooked in the same manner each time.

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Basil, in brief

Who likes fresh basil?  I like fresh basil.  Fresh basil likes me, too, especially when I put it in the fridge or in a cup of water on the counter.  For a few days, fresh basil will be happy with either of these options.  Fresh basil, it turns out, does not like me if I do both.  Yesterday, I put fresh basil in water in the fridge, and within hours, fresh basil became not-so-fresh basil, shriveled, brown, and very, very unhappy.

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I intended this post to be about creating a yard bouquet from the gorgeous peonies blooming in our garden. I clipped some peonies, arranged them in a vase, put them in the kitchen window and took their photo.

I knew I’d written a post last year about our peonies. So I just had a look at the post and am dismayed at myself. Though last year’s post was really about the process of planting our five peonies, I did clip a flower.

And then I brought it inside.

Put it in a vase.

Placed it in the kitchen window.

And took its photo.

Last year's peony. It's even in the same vase.

Though it’s disappointing that I essentially made the exact same bouquet last year, the thing that really threw me into the pit of predictability was that I took a look at the date on last year’s post: May 5, 2010. For those not paying attention to the calendar, that is exactly one year ago today.

So in an effort to spice up life a bit, here’s a photo of my yard bouquet of peonies in a brand new place — our small writing table.

Here’s another sorry tale, which also points to my poor memory and adds a hefty dose of my failure to lead an organized existence. Earlier this week I made a fantastic acorn squash soup with a pan-fried sage garnish. I used a little bit of this and a little bit of that and the result was a whole lot of yum. I took a bunch of photos of the soup and quickly wrote out the recipe, certain that I’d share it on this blog.

Then I lost the recipe. I have absolutely no idea where I put it. I tried blaming Mark, but he doesn’t even remember seeing it, let alone moving it or throwing it out. It’s just plain gone.

Such a nice soup. Too bad it, unlike, say, my peony bouquets, can never be replicated.

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Our local Harris Teeter grocery store routinely offers samples of their fresh-baked bread. They put out cubes of bread with butter and other toppings like tapenade. Recently, they had baguette cubes with lemon artichoke pesto to spread on top. I had a sample. Then another. Then I told Mark to sample some. Then we both sampled again. That pesto was good. Really good. We bought some on the spot (we’re suckers that way).

But at $4.50 for a small container, the pesto wasn’t cheap. We brought it home and I cut up some bread and ate the pesto right out of the container. In the middle of my pesto orgy, I took a look at the list of ingredients: artichokes, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, parsley, green onion, garlic, and canola and olive oils. It was then that I had my great idea — I’d replicate the pesto and it would be less expensive (and better!) than the original.

You can guess where this is going. After spending far more than $4.50 for the ingredients for my replicated pesto, I futzed around a bit with the amounts, threw it all in the food processor, crossed my fingers, and gave it a whirl.

It was bad. I threw it over some pasta for dinner and neither Mark nor I could even finish our servings. Seriously, it was awful. What a disappointment.

So the white flag is up, Harris Teeter. Next time I want lemon artichoke pesto I will happily hand you my $4.50.

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Several weeks ago I came across a recipe online for kale salad. In addition to kale, it had chunks of avocado and apple. And that’s all I could remember. I searched for it again the other night when I saw that I had both kale and avocado that needed eating. I couldn’t find it (although I did find other, similar recipes), so I just experimented with things we had on hand. The resulting salad was surprisingly good.

But before I get to the recipe, take a look at this near perfect avocado. Despite all my years living in southern California, I never mastered the art of selecting perfect avocados. I just got lucky with this one.

Kale Salad
Servings: 2

  • bunch of kale, chopped into small pieces (about 2-3 cups)
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 gala apple, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Italian parsley, diced
  • 1 -2 Tbsp green onion, diced
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice (I used the juice of half a lemon)
  • 1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
Cut the stems off the kale and then cut the leaves into small, bite-size pieces. Place into a bowl. Drizzle the lemon juice over the kale and toss together. Add the avocado, apple, parsley, and green onion. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and add the salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

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