To hell with design speak. Today it’s about food. Yes…as if you haven’t eaten enough these last couple of days! Well, I just want to share a couple of awesome recipes that I made—and ate—this week.
First off, let me send my profound thanks to Epicurious.com. I’ve been so very busy with work and volunteer cooking (200 for HS choir fundraiser!) that I had not planned for Thanksgiving. (Note: I can do this because none of our immediate family lives in Oregon—worse case scenario, I cook for my 5 and we eat at home.) Anyway…the last-minute plan was to cook turkey, pies, & yams and bring food & family to my friend’s house, where we would jointly serve 20 people. No problem (ie. my house did not need cleaning!).
So back to Epicurious. As of Monday night—that’s 11/24—I had not looked at a recipe. For me, the tradition of serving turkey, dressing, etc. is sacred, but the actual recipes are not. As far as I’m concerned, there’s always another cool stuffing, glaze, pie variation, cranberry recipe worth trying. And I was tired of my cookbooks or too lazy to move from computer to kitchen (I forget). So, Epicurious it was.
All I can say is…BINGO! Let me share.
Turkey is basically a no-brainer. But this one had the added benefit of juicy white meat (which only Jim eats, anyway), lots of delicious drippings for gravy, and fast roasting time because it wasn’t stuffed. In fact, the drippings were so rich, I’ve had to dilute the gravy with chicken broth for the leftovers. That so never happens! Here it is: Roast Turkey with Hazelnut Stuffing Cooking Note: I omitted the chicken breast from stuffing—not a problem. I think the stuffing was actually a bit heavy on the meat, might try leaving out the ham in future. What was really delicious was the prep of bird, basting sauces and fruit.
The real gem, however, was the strudel. Now I grew up helping my mother (a Michigan farm-girl) make apple pies. She was the whiz at paring & slicing apples fast. I, being “artistic” enjoyed making the pie crusts pretty. I enjoyed eating them even more. So I learned how to make apple pie. Really well. But a girl has to graduate, right? So I upped the ante and started making apple strudels in my 20s. Problem is, strudel is really labor intensive. So I migrated from the traditional dough (stretched paper-thin to cover entire table) to phyllo dough ($#$&#!) as a time-saver. Then swore off phyllo for the rest of my life.
Anyway, years went by, kids born, and no more time for strudel. My kids were perfectly happy with apple crisp and pie (half like raisins, half don’t). But I got bored. Kids got older, and honestly, sometimes pie is just too, well…pedestrian. So, back to strudel. (And rescinding my anti-phyllo decree!) So…I found the following recipe and was game. (Hell, I just cooked for 200, three days earlier, what’s a little strudel!)
Let me just say this…OMG! This recipe is awesome! Delicious! Plate-licking good! Nirvannah! Here’s a couple of tips to ensure success:
- Enlist help. Phyllo dough is unforgiving. You must work fast. Have a helper to cover/uncover dough as you work. I had my son covering dough and my husband brushing dough with butter. This kept my hands grease-free for spreading crumbs and new dough layers. (We made 2 strudels.)
- I substituted olive oil for 1/2 the butter to make it less un-healthy. It was marvelous. I think that next time I’ll replace all the melted butter w/olive oil (like baklava).
- Do pre-slice top layer before baking. It makes all the difference in presentation.
- Do, do, do make sauce. It was heaven!
As for some of the other recipes I plucked from Epicurios that day, here they are:
- Spiced Pumpkin Pie: OK. I used a ready-made crust and my own creme fraiche. Think I’ll wait for that cholesteral check-up ;-) http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spiced-Pumpkin-Pie-100401
- Spicy Cranberry Relish: OK. Spicy! http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spicy-Cranberry-Relish-107379
Anyway, thought I’d share. Because that strudel is why I cook!