Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Can you believe it's this week? For those of you planning to cook something from the holiday, here are a few ideas from my blog and from other sources. Have a wonderful holiday!

Saveur does Thanksgiving
Cooks Illustrated does Thanksgiving
Domino Magazine does Thanksgiving
Cookie Magazine does Thanksgiving

Spiced Sweet Potatoes

6 large sweet potatoes
4 cinnamon sticks
6 star anise
1 lb. unsalted butter (cut into chunks)
1/2 cup maple syrup
salt to taste

Start by peeling the potatoes. Cut into 2-inch chunks and boil until soft. Drain, removing cinnamon and star anise. Mash with one stick of butter. I usually then push the potatoes through a strainer four or five times to get rid of the fibers and achieve a silky texture. Put back on low heat, add the remaining butter and the maple syrup, mix well, and salt to taste.

Cornbread, Wild Mushroom, and Pecan Stuffing (from Martha Stewart)
(Makes about 8 cups)

6 T unsalted butter, plus fore for dish
Cornbread cut into 2-inch-thick slices
5 shallots, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
10 ounces wild mushrooms, such as shiitake, chanterelles, or mores
1 t fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 t fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3/4 t coarse salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt 2 T butter in a medium skillet. Place cornbread on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush with melted butter. Toast in oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cook completely.

2. Heat remaining 1/4 cup butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, herbs, salt, and pepper; cooked stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in wine; cook until it has been absorbed, about 1 minute. Stir in cream. Cook 30 seconds; remove from heat.

3. Crumble cornbread into a large bowl. Add the mushroom mixture, pecans, and stock; toss. To bake all of the stuffing in the oven: spoon it into a buttered 13-by-9-inch baking dish; bake at 425 degrees until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Lara's Turkey

(1) (You may have to skip this step). Homemade broth from last year's turkey. Every time I make a turkey, I make a soup from the leftover bits, and then strain and boil it down until it is jelly-like and very small, and then freeze it. I use this in cooking the turkey.

(2) Get your turkey. Name it. (Very Important). Wash it. Lovingly rub it inside and out with kosher salt. Cover it with waxed paper and let it sit in the fridge for 12-24 hours.

(3) Rinse Wilhemina (or whatever you named it) out getting all the salt off. Rub her insides with garlic salt.

(4) Take 1lb of butter, and mix it with fresh herbs and get it nice and soft. Rub this all over the inside. Gently separate the skin from the meat, and rub the butter mix into this area (just stick in clumps if you have to).

(5) Stuff the turkey and truss it.

(6) rub the remaining butter into the top layer of skin.

(7) cover the turkey with a slivered garlic and cheesecloth, soaked in broth. Pour more broth over the cheesecloth once it is on. put several small onions (preferrably pearl onions) around the base of the turkey in the pan.

(8) tent the turkey with foil.

(9) start cooking the baby, basting every 1/2 hour, adding more broth as needed. (BTW, use the broth to flavor the stuffing as well).

(10) make sure the turkey can sit out for at least 1/2 hour before attempting to remove stuffing.

(11) Use the turkey drippings and the broth to make the gravy

(12) make sure there is a giant pot on the stove into which all excess turkey bits (ALL OF THEM - bones, skin, fat) can be tossed for making of next round of broth. Toss in celery, carrot, onion, peppercorns, garlic, and boquet garni. And a little white wine.

Pie Crust (from Melissa Hamilton in the New York Times)

1¼cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, preferably a high-fat, European-style butter like Plugra, chilled and cut into ½-inch pieces

2 to 5 tablespoons ice water.

1. In a food processor, briefly pulse together the flour and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture forms chickpea-size pieces (3 to 5 one-second pulses). Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until mixture is just moist enough to hold together.

2. Form dough into a ball, wrap with plastic and flatten into a disk. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before rolling out and baking.
Yield: One 9-inch single pie crust. Recipe can be doubled for a double crust; divide dough into two balls and form two disks before chilling.

Variations: You can experiment with textures and flavors by substituting 3 to 4 tablespoons shortening, lard, beef suet, duck fat or an unsweetened nut butter, such as hazelnut butter, almond butter or mixed nut butter, for 3 to 4 tablespoons regular butter. All should be well chilled before using.

Prebaked Crust: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie crust to a 12-inch circle. Transfer crust to a 9-inch pie plate. Fold over any excess dough, then crimp edges. Prick crust all over with a fork. If you have time, freeze crust for 15 to 30 minutes; otherwise skip this step. Cover pie with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights (you can use pennies, rice or dried beans for this). Bake for 15 minutes; remove foil and weights and bake until pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes more. Cool on rack until needed.


Luisa Perkins said...

Girl, you've got it down. I hope you had a lovely day.

hippittee said...

A little after the fact...but wanted to thank you for the introduction to Domino Magazine!!

Adriana Velez said...

Glad you like it, Hippittee -- I've become addicted myself!