Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Wrap Up - Part 1

Thanksgiving was just lovely. Notwithstanding having to get up at 7 to start cooking, my time line worked perfectly (discussions about time lines to follow in later posts), and we sat down to a beautiful meal nearly on time - the oven roasted turkey took a bit longer than we thought, but the mini hot dogs kept people happy while waiting.

The grilled turkey was a bit of a challenge to start off. I used a drip pan as suggested, which caught fire from the grease drippings, so I took it out. What I finally found worked was to have indirect heat. The two outside burners were on medium, and the turkey was in the middle. The edges of the wings got a little overdone, but the skin was crisp, deep brown, slightly charred and the meat was moist and delicious. The grilled turkey is in the second and third pictures.

The last picture is of the oven roasted turkey, which came out perfectly!

I bought myself a gift this year - a small countertop oven. It's much bigger than a toaster, but neither so huge that there isn't room, nor so heavy, that I can't store it in the basement if I want, and that made preparation so much easier! With the turkey taking up most of the oven, all of the side dishes either had to be made on the stove, or made ahead and reheated once the turkey comes out of the oven.

Next week I will write about quantities, leftovers and timelines... For now, I'm going downstairs to put up chicken soup for a nice, quiet shabbat dinner - I'm making a simple meal to follow up the Thanksgiving excess - and will save the thanksgiving leftovers for a yummy shabbat lunch.

Shabbat Shalom and happy leftovers to all!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving Menu 2009

Menus are not created in a vacuum. A holiday's menu is prepared by starting with menus with their notes from prior years, as well as all the notes hints, ideas and links I collect throughout the year. And though each holiday has it's required, traditional dishes, I always like to add one or two new dishes to keep it interesting. And just as I am always learning new recipes and techniques in the kitchen, I am also learning more about blogging.... please note that several of the dishes below have links to their recipes.

Enjoy and be thankful!

Portabella Mushroom Soup or Butternut Squash Soup served with

Corn Squash Muffins

Roasted Turkey õ Gravy

Barbequed Turkey

Sweet and Sour Tongue

Roasted Autumn Vegetables Vegetables õ Chestnut Stuffing

Grandma’s Sweet Potatoes õ Mashed Potatoes

Arugula Salad with Pomegranate and Toasted Walnuts

Harvest Bread

Cranberry Sauce õ Pickles and Olives

Sunday, November 15, 2009

And they were all happy! Teriyaki Meatball Success

Well readers, the title of this post says it all. Combining a few recipes and my own taste buds produced a batch of meatballs that are going to become a new standard! They're easy, you likely have the ingredients in your kitchen and everyone will love them!

Teriyaki Meatballs

1/3 cups Soy sauce
4 tbsp Sugar
1/3 cups water
1 Small onion, grated
1 tsp Fresh Ginger, grated
2 lbs ground beef
2 cups Breadcrumbs
1 cups Brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups ketchup
1/3 cups White Vinegar
1/2 cups Soy sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine soy sauce, sugar, water, grated onion, and grated ginger. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Combine with beef and bread crumbs. Roll into walnut sized meatballs.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in frying pan. Lightly brown meatballs.

Combine brown sugar, water, ketchup, vinegar and soy sauce. Pour over meatballs and bake about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Serve over rice or noodles, or terrific as a first course.

Makes about 60 meatballs.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shabbat Lunch - Aiming to please everyone

There's an email joke that pops up in my inbox few months..

If, according to the Jewish calendar, the year is 5764, and, according to the Chinese calendar, the year is 5724, what did the Jews eat for forty years?

I'm not sure why, but Jews stereotypically love Chinese food. And stereotypes notwithstanding, the Jews I feed on a regular basis really love Chinese food, whether authentic from a restaurant or my homemade vaguely Asian inspired recipes.

This week I only need to prepare Shabbat lunch at home, though from an earlier post youknow I'm preparing Shabbat dinner for 100 at the shul. Because I will be in the shul kitchen most of the day Friday, and Shabbat is so early, I need to prep all the food for Shabbat tonight - and I'm not in a fancy mood. As I was considering a menu this morning, the wind was howling, the sky was grey and I only wanted to think of foods that we would find comforting. Then I thought of a recipe I saw earlier this week on - Teriyaki Meatballs - and from that start, a menu came to life.

By the way, unless I have a lot of company for lunch, I've found it's much more enjoyable to do without a first course. By putting a wide variety of foods on the table, people can help themselves, there's no bouncing up and down after kiddush and motzi, and there's also less to clean up!

Shabbat Lunch

Teriyaki Meatballs
Soy Sauce Chicken
Jasmine Rice
Sauteed Mixed Vegetables
Sesame Eggplant Salad
Edamame with Dipping Sauce

Dessert will NOT be Asian inspired, but simply what the season is screaming "Apple Pie" and, as always, some kind of chocolate cookies.

Shabbat Shalom!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shabbat Dinner for 100

There's an old saying "If you want something done, ask a busy person" - which seems to be a saying about me. From my standpoint though, it's great that I can keep up with everything, that people know they can rely on me, and that my schedule stays busy. Relaxing is NOT my favorite activity (though with recent help, I'm learning).

To that end, in addition to chairing the high school dinner in January, co-chairing the shul dinner in March, hosting Thanksgiving (as a group effort), and taking one small trip in December and one long trip in January, I agreed to run a Friday night dinner at the shul. And being just a bit compulsive, I decided to help the shul out by preparing the appetizer, dessert and kid's meals to save money. The main course and side dishes are being delivered by Main Event (Thanks HannahLee!). So this is the menu for this Friday Night:

Family Style on each table: Hummos, Pita, Pickles and Olives

Plated at each seat:
Mesclun Salad with Cranberries and Glazed Nuts with Vidalia Dressing
Served with one toast with Smoked Salmon and one toast with Bruschetta

Main Course:
Served Buffet Style
Fried chicken
Honey Orange Roasted Chicken
Yellow Rice Pilaf
Herb Roasted Potatoes
Melange of Steamed Vegetables

Brownies, Chocolate Chip Bars, Meringues

Pasta with Sauce
Chicken Nuggets
French Fries
Steamed Broccoli

I hope all will enjoy - I baked the brownies and chocolate chip bars last night - great for building arm strength - I stirred and octet batch (that's 8!) of brownies, then a quadruple batch of chocolate chips. The meringues I'll bake fresh on Friday morning.

Shabbat Shalom!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Challah - Nearly got it!

With many thanks to my reader Debbie, who commented on one of my challah posts with her Challah recipe, I made challah last week that came out great, and was just as simple as anything I'd tried earlier. I tweaked her recipe just a bit and will tweak the recipe one more time and make it a bit sweeter (my personal preference), but it was just terrific! I shaped the dough into two huge challahs, and a gang of teenagers ate 1 3/4 of them Friday night in addition to Chicken Soup, Roast Beef, etc etc etc

Deb’s Challah

1 kilo bread flour

2 tablespoons dried yeast,

3/4 c. sugar

1 tablespoon salt

3 eggs

2 cups warm water

1/3 cup oil

1/4 cup honey

In mixer bowl, mix dry ingredients. Using dough hook, add eggs, water, oil and honey; blend well till smooth dough forms. Knead in mixer five minutes.

Turn dough into oiled bowl and turn over. Cover with clean dishcloth. Put in a warm spot in the kitchen and let rise four hours. Punch down, and let rise one hour. Punch down, shape into 2 large, 3 medium or 4 small challahs. Let rise one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush challahs with egg wash, sprinkle with seeds.

Bake for 25-30 minutes till golden brown.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Chestnut Stuffing - with variations!

Oh the questions! In the turkey? Outside the turkey? Stuffing? Dressing? Eggs? Sweet? Savory? The debate goes on and on! Stuffing is a dish that can be prepared an infinite number of ways, and for every recipe there are infinite variations.

Several years ago, I came across a recipe for stuffing to be made in a crockpot - that variation was new to me - and having been planning on serving fairly early in the day, having only one oven, and not being a fan of actually stuffing the turkey, I tried it - with much success! Over the years I have varied the "add-ins". The original recipe calls for mushrooms, but I have added crumbled cooked chestnuts, dried cranberries and combinations all with great success, as the basic recipe is terrific!

Deb's Crockpot Stuffing

1/4 cup oil
2 medium onions, diced
1 cup diced celery
12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2/3 cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 package chestnuts, crumbled
1 1/4 cups broth
2 large egg
1 challah, torn in pieces, left out overnight to dry

Saute onions and celery in oil over medium heat until translucent, and just starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes. If using, add mushrooms and cook until all liquid evaporates. Lower heat and add parsley, sage, poultry seasoning, thyme, salt, pepper and chestnuts.

Put challah into crockpot. Stir in vegetable mixture. Whisk together broth and eggs and pour over challah/vegetable mixture and stir well.

Cook on high 1 hour then reduce heat to low for at least 4 hours - though it can stay in without drying out for up to 6 hours.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Corn Squash Muffins

Last Shabbat, I tried out several new recipes - among them was Corn Squash Muffins. I accidentally bought the wrong ingredient, played with the recipe to compensate and came out with phenomenal results. Not only were the muffins moist, and not too heavy, when reheated for shabbat lunch, they got crisp and crunch on the outside and stayed moist and creamy on the inside -
There muffins will definitely be on my Thanksgiving table - and will be a frequent shabbat addition as well.

Corn Squash Muffins

1 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 12 ounce packages Southland prepared butternut squash (o-u pareve)
2 eggs
1 cup soy or almond milk (I love the Almond Breeze original unsweetened)
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (vegetable oil spray works) 18 medium or 12 large muffin cups. Stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar and baking powder in large bowl. Stir together squash, eggs, soy milk and oil until well blended. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Put batter into prepared muffins cups - bake 1/2 hour.

If baking ahead and you like them moist, leave in muffin cups to reheat. If you crisper sides and edges, allow to cool briefly in muffin cups, then pop out, and put on baking sheet to reheat.


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