Monthly Archives: November 2011

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Mashed Potatoes with Goat Cheese and Dill

Mashed potatoes is a side dish that has become a staple on many Thanksgiving tables.  The great thing about mashed potatoes is you can add different ingredients to it and change a plain recipe into a more flavorful one.  This Thanksgiving I decided to try mixing goat cheese and fresh dill into the potatoes.  The goat cheese gave it a creamy tanginess, and tasted great with the fresh dill!  Potatoes are so easy to make and I always leave the skins on (especially if they are red potatoes).  Overall the addition of the goat cheese and dill was a success and I will definitely have this on the table on Thanksgiving next year.

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Roast Turkey Sandwich with Cranberry Sauce


One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is all the leftovers for the days after.  I usually like to make a soup out of the turkey leftovers but another great way to use all that turkey is to make a delicious sandwich with cranberry sauce.  There is something about the combination of roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, and mayonnaise on crusty bread that make Thanksgiving part II almost as good as the first day. This sandwich is naturally very easy to make as all the ingredients have already been prepared.  I added some tomatoes and lettuce to give the sandwich some extra crunch.  An excellent way to finish off any kind of leftover Thanksgiving turkey!

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Cranberry Sauce with Pinot Noir

I ended up making quite a bit of cranberry sauce this year for Thanksgiving.  The nice thing is that it can be stored in the refrigerator or even frozen.  Cranberry sauce is easy to make from scratch and tastes fresh and tangy–a perfect topping for a roast turkey or slathering on a piece of bread for a leftover turkey sandwich. I normally go with an orange-ginger cranberry sauce but this year I tried making it with pinot noir.  I really enjoyed this version of cranberry sauce, and the addition of the pinot noir gave it a more full-bodied flavor.

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Baked Bread Stuffing with Sage

This is a standard bread stuffing with a crumbly and soft consistency.  The bread is toasted and left to harden over night to get that good crunchy texture.  It is then flavored with fresh sage leaves, sauteed onions and celery and baked in the oven.  This recipe takes some time and effort to prepare but the recipe is well worth it.  A perfect side dish for a juicy roast turkey!

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Roasted Butternut Squash with Caramelized Onions, Gruyere, and Sage

Butternut squash for me is a staple during the fall and winter, especially during holidays like Thanksgiving.  I decided to try this recipe for butternut squash over Thanksgiving and I was not disappointed.  The squash is roasted and tossed with caramelized onions, sage, and melted gruyere cheese.  The squash added a nice pop of color on the plate and the melted gruyere was delicious with the sage and butternut squash. It takes a long time for the squash to roast in the oven but it ended up being well worth it.

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French Onion Soup


French onion is a classic soup which I now consider to be one of my favorite soups.  The recipe is fairly simple but it takes a fair amount of time and effort to create the perfect french onion soup.  It consists of caramelized onions in a beef and red wine flavored broth topped with a slice of toasted bread and melted gruyere cheese.  A delicious soup for cold, winter evenings! The key to making a good french onion is the length of time used to melt the onions.  I like taking several hours to caramelize the onion until it is melt-in-your-mouth tender and golden brown.  The one challenge I discovered early on was chopping 8 lbs of onions–I was crying the whole time! Apparently there is an enzyme in onions that creates an acidic gas when cut and gets in the eyes.  I was grateful that this soup turned out to be more than worth the tears and hours it took to create it.

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Creole Split Pea Soup with Andouille Sausage


After making a good pork roast it’s always great to use the leftovers in a soup.  A great way to use the bone from a pork shoulder (or ham hock) is making pea soup. A few years ago I visited New Orleans and I was taken with the flavors they used in their soups and seafood so I decided to try a creole inspired pea soup.  I started with a base of onion, garlic, celery, green pepper, and carrots which sauteed in butter until soft.  Then I added some creole spices like thyme, sage, oregano, paprika, dried sassafras, and cayenne pepper.  The andouille sausage was my favorite twist on the traditional pea soup.  The sausage was delicious and had great sweet and spicy flavors.

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Nutella Pumpkin Bread


If you like pumpkin and chocolate you just might like this recipe which combines two great flavors into one delicious bread.  The bread is also seasoned with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger which produces amazing aromas in the kitchen as the bread bakes.  The chocolate hazelnut flavor from the nutella and the pumpkin puree mixes well together, creating an excellent fall bread recipe.  I mixed the batter well, resulting in a dark brown batter.  Another option is to fold in the nutella at the end, creating a swirl of chocolate in the middle.

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Cuban Pulled Pork Tacos with Red Cabbage and Jicama Slaw and Chipotle Mayo

My high opinion of pulled pork and pork shoulder was further validated by this recipe for Cuban pulled pork tacos.  Making good pulled pork is always a very simple formula: wet rub + dry rub + marinate + several hours in an oven = fork tender, juicy pulled pork.  The flavor profile of this recipe is sweet and spicy, which comes from the cuban dry rub and fresh orange and lime juices.  The red cabbage and jicama slaw added more sweet heat along with some texture and crunch.  The chipotle mayonnaise was surprising as I had never eaten mayo with a taco before but the results were great nonetheless.  The mayo is super easy to throw together as all it requires is mixing mayo and a few tablespoons of pureed chiles in adobo sauce with a little lime juice.  I topped the tacos with sour cream and chopped cilantro.

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Red Cabbage and Jicama Slaw

This slaw was a great accompaniment to the Cuban pulled pork tacos.  The slaw was sweet and a little spicy which worked well with the sweet and spicy flavors of the pulled pork.  Jicama has the same texture and similar taste to watercress but has an earthier flavor to it.  Since I had only eaten jicama in restaurants and ignored it in the grocery aisle, it was fun to test out a new item in the kitchen.  The slaw was tasty and easy to throw together since all it takes is grating the ingredients in a bowl and adding a little juice and spices.

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