Saturday, December 26, 2015

Merry Christmas Yumminess: Winter Delights

Our book "The Lazy Woman's Guide to Just About Everything" redefines the word lazy.  Yes this Christmas feast took hours to prepare but it brought me such JOY to do it.  Therefore it was lazy.  If it fills your heart with joy, and does not add stress, then that's a damn good lazy thing.

This was a great feast and I'm sharing all the recipes because some of these are super duper easy to make, others more time-consuming but profoundly worth the effort, and all of them are delicious for the winter.

The trifle was a huge hit.  I had some leftover Gingerbread Cake (I have used the Silver Palate recipe -- with lemon glaze for over 30 years because it never ceases to impress) and I thought "Hey why not make a trifle out of that?"  So I made lemon curd, which I adore making because it's so fun to zest and juice the lemons and then watch as it slowly thickens over heat.  So I did layer of gingerbread, splashed with a few tablespoons of whiskey (or liqueur of your choice), then a layer of lemon curd, then some whipped cream (with vanilla and just a bit of powdered sugar because you don't want it to be sweet), and then some raspberries, and repeat until you make it to the top which is finished with whipped cream and berries.  It's so fricking easy and best to be done at least a day ahead so all the flavors soak in.

I found this recipe for Beet Risotto and built the menu around it.  Even Dan, the guest who hates most veggies and fruits, wanted to take leftovers home.  This is a super healthy and yummy risotto.  Check out that color!  I made it as people arrived and had cocktails just outside the kitchen so I could engage with them but still cook.  It's really fun to make.  I prepped the beets ahead and had everything pre-measured so it was stress-free. Here's the recipe: Beet Risotto

I sauteed broccolini in olive oil and garlic.  Finish with fresh squeezed lemon and salt.

I googled Italian Christmas dishes and found this beauty.  This is a very labor intensive dish but you can do it the day before and throw it in the fridge.  I will tell you it is worth every single moment of prep time.   It is scrumptious! Here is what it looked like when I put it in the fridge.  Below is when it came out of the oven. Here is the recipe:  Celery Root and Mushroom Lasagna.

NOTE: I left out the prosciutto. Yep, I completely and totally left out one huge ingredient. I don't eat meat so it was a selfish move, but the recipe flavor did not suffer.  I did add extra shaved parmigiano on top and next time I will drizzle the top with a good dose of olive oil because although it was fantastic I think that addition would make it perfection.

Here's some Lazy Woman Good News.  I had leftover Silver Palate Thanksgiving Potatoes so I threw them in the freezer to see if they could be frozen.  Well, I put them in the oven with the lasagna at 350 for about an hour and a half and they came out great!  I put them out even though they didn't really go with the theme because Dan doesn't like mushrooms so the lasagna was largely lost on him even though he valiantly picked out mushrooms and ate what he could.

The salad is my new fave because you can make all the ingredients ahead or buy them prepared:  lettuce, roasted squash (I did the day ahead with olive oil, rosemary and salt), fresh pomegranate seeds (I prepped the day ahead but you can just buy seeds), shaved parmigiano, toasted pecans, lemon, olive oil, salt.  I forgot to take a picture before it was tossed.  It's gorgeous pre-tossing with all the wintry colors.  It has all the right textures too.

And then the Laziest Move of the Christmas Season?  I ordered a smoked turkey from Burgers Smokehouse.  Last year my friends Rene and Leanne brought a smoked turkey breast to dinner and it wow'd everyone.  Go here to order:  Burgers' Smokehouse

Big props to my favorite magazine for recipes -- Food & Wine, and, as always, the tried and true favorites of the Silver Palate Cookbooks.

Buon Appetito and Buon Natale a tutti!   I hope you get to use some of these recipes this winter. I promise you won't be disappointed!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lazy Winter Morning Pick Me Up! Orange Oatmeal

Check out the LAZY recipe I accidentally posted on the other blog! LOL!


Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Leftover Cranberry Sauce?


Every year since my grandma died, I've let my mom contribute the homemade cranberry sauce, to carry on grandma's traditional recipe.  And every year my mother goes way overboard on how much she makes and always brings at least TWO batches of the stuff, very likely in an effort to one up my sweet grandma in heaven. Hahaha!  

Since no one takes more than a tablespoon at Thanksgiving, I always get really upset about the waste....until now.I had a second Thanksgiving, a Friendsgiving on Sunday and really wanted to make another apple pie, particularly since we had a visitor from Australia.  He's a vegetarian so we had all the traditional foods minus the turkey.  I used this Smitten Kitchen Apple Pie Recipe, although I used all Granny Smiths.  Also, I added about 1/2 cup of sour cream and about 1/4 cup of brown sugar when I made it on Thanksgiving.  But for Friendsgiving, I added an extra apple, 1/2 cup sour cream and about 3/4 cup of the leftover cranberry sauce.  Oh. My. God. Yum.

This is what it looked like before i added the cranberry sauce (actually pictured is sauce above and cranberry covered apples):

Then I added the sour cream and poured into the shell:

The finished product is, of course, at the top of this post.  My mouth is watering for it as I type this!

Another thing I did with the leftover sauce was add it to my Australian house guest's oatmeal.  It looked so good I had to have some too!  Now I'm considering making a batch to always have in the fridge!  It's quite possible cranberry sauce is good in everything!  It is now my favorite accent for oatmeal.  With a few toasted pecans thrown on top - perfection!

I didn't grab a pic of it with nuts on top but it was lovely and colorful!

Grateful now for the leftovers that used to feel so wasteful.  I will now forever covet the leftover cranberry sauce.

Thanksgiving Turkey -- Before + After

I have been mostly pescatarian for about 30 years.  I've had a few poultry-friendly months when my body craved it for a bit, like now.  I've been eating chicken and turkey for a few months now.  Still, I'm not really all the way back in the poultry game so the turkey and I had a bit of a tussle on Thanksgiving, me being a near-turkey virgin, and both of us nearly ending up on the kitchen floor.  But, he ended up being the juiciest, most flavorful turkey I have seen or tasted -- oozing with flavor!  The secret:  brine + butter. 

I brined him for 24 hours, per the Alton Brown's Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe.  Then I took a stick of softened butter and chopped up a bunch of fresh herbs (and salt) to make a nice herb butter.  I lifted the turkey skin and put it all over him!  Inside the cavity I put my favorite herbs -- thyme and parsley, a bunch of lemons and onion and one apple.  I followed Alton's cooking times as well, 500 degrees at first, etc. as noted in the recipe.  I also put in the pan under the roasting rack, a potato, some carrots and onion.  They were crispy delicious at the end of the roasting time.  

The turkey was so juicy and flavorful that even days later you could bit into a turkey leftover and it was moist and delicious!

Then I went all the way in. I made a broth out of the carcass and then created this soup.

Recipe for Turkey Leftovers Soup:

  • Sautee Onion, Garlic, Celery, Carrots - to taste + whim
  • Add 8 to 12 cups of broth
  • Add fresh peas (I used about 1/2 bag of Trader Joe's fresh peas)
  • Add about 1/2 bag of Trader Joe's Roasted Corn
  • Add one container of store-bought sliced mushrooms
  • Add about a cup of Farro
  • Then I added a bunch of the leftover turkey AND the piece de resistance, the scraps of roasted potato and carrot from the bottom of the turkey roasting pan (chopped up).
  • Add fresh or dried herbs, including a couple by leaves.  
  • Simmer to ultimate yumminess

For one of my bowls I added a little leftover stuffing on top for even more recycling pleasure!

 Buon Appetito with Molto Gratitude!