Cool Thanksgiving Drinks

The first Thanksgiving we lived in the South we had just moved into our first house. Katherine excitedly threw on a sweater, popped some baked brie in the oven and lit a fire. The sweater was shed and the brie was enjoyed with iced tea on the back porch. The fire was left to die after we threw every window in the house open. It’s often still in the 70s in November and with the oven on full blast, we often reach for cold drinks on Thanksgiving. Here are some of our favorites:

Fresh Apple Cider (unfermented)

Look the photo is even the same as the other recipe

Look the photo is even the same as the other recipe

Apple Punch

Brrr it's cold in here, said the pitcher

Brrr it’s cold in here, said the pitcher

Caramel Appletinis

Make sure you get real apple cider

Make sure you get real apple cider

Brandy Milk Punch

Wait until the end of the week and buy your thanksgiving napkins for next year for pennies on the dollar

Wait until the end of the week and buy your thanksgiving napkins for next year for pennies on the dollar

Cranberry Almond Fizz

We only have one fall placemat

We only have one fall placemat

Fall Mimosas

Katherine thought I was outside raking leaves

Katherine thought I was outside raking leaves

Ginger Ale

Add a liquor of choice and it is easily adult

Add a liquor of choice and it is easily adult

Pomosas

spirits128

Pumpkin Pie Martinis

The rim of sugar may be excessive but hey it's the holidays

The rim of sugar may be excessive but hey it’s the holidays

Rosemary-infused Lemonade

Rosemary, who would have thunk it

Rosemary, who would have thunk it

Posted in Spirits | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Green Beans and Toasted Almonds

There is no soup mix any where near this dish

There is no soup mix any where near this dish

This is a great side any time of the year. The cream sauce is really light and helps create a little balance with all the heavier food that may be served this time of year. This also cooks very fast so it can be made once the gravy is almost done and everything else is ready.

Green Beans with Toasted Almond Cream Sauce

  • 1 lb green beans snapped into 1 1/2-2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

Steam green beans until cooked but still very crisp, about 4-5 minutes. Dunk in ice water to stop cooking and set aside. When ready to cook heat a large frying pan over medium heat and toast almonds until the edges begin to brown. Add lemon juice, cream and thyme and cook until slightly thickened then add beans. Stir to coat in sauce and serve immediately.

Need more sides for Thanksgiving? Try these:

Baked Butternut Squash

Glazed Carrots with Mint

Fennel with Blue Cheese and Pecans

Roasted Fennel

Green Beans with Pancetta and Mushrooms

Green Beans with Basil

Not your Mama’s Green Bean Casserole

Green Beans in a Lemon Vinaigrette

Green Bean Salad

Modern-Day Succotash

Mushroom Gratin

Pumpkin Bisque with Shrimp

Posted in Food, Recipes, Sides, vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Thanksgiving Starter

That is a lot of food for two

That is a lot of food for two

November is our favorite month of the year because it includes our favorite national holiday — Katherine’s birthday. OK, really it’s Thanksgiving. Katherine’s birthday is a close second, but only because we generally don’t make gravy on that day. For the next few weeks we’ll be sharing new recipes and highlighting our favorites. On tap this year: chestnut stuffing, a new sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes that are to die for and a tangy new cranberry sauce. If you just can’t wait for the festivities to start. Check out the list we compiled last year of all of our Thanksgiving recipes from drinks to desserts.

Which ones are our absolute favorites? Well, if we have to pick:

Brandy Milk Punch

Wait until the end of the week and buy your thanksgiving napkins for next year for pennies on the dollar

Wait until the end of the week and buy your thanksgiving napkins for next year for pennies on the dollar

Turkey with Herb Butter, No lumps Gravy and Cornbread and Biscuit Stuffing

Mmm, butter

Mmm, butter

Brussels Sprouts with a Honey Glaze

I want some right now

I want some right now

Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Toasted Pecans

Two Southern staples

Two Southern staples

Mashed Potatoes with Truffle Oil and Porcini

This is important, this means something

This is important, this means something

Brandied Cranberry Sauce

Where are the can indentations?

Where are the can indentations?

Maple Bourbon Pumpkin Pie

Pie is perfect for breakfast as well

Pie is perfect for breakfast as well

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Give me pie or give me....more pie

Give me pie or give me….more pie

Posted in Dinner, Food | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Grilled Mahi Mahi with a Sesame Crust over Wilted Kale

Fish is so good when we can get it

Fish is so good when we can get it

Because fish went on sale and it’s always grilling season …

Grilled Mahi Mahi with a Sesame Crust over Wilted Kale

For the Marinade

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 lb Mahi mahi filet

Whisk ingredients together and let fish marinade in a non-reactive container for 30 minutes. Flip the fish once.

For the crust

  • 1/8 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper seeds

Grind ingredients in a coffee grinder for about 15 seconds. Leave some rough bits, you don’t want it to be pulverized.

For the kale

  • 1 bunch kale torn by hand
  • 12 basil leaves chopped roughly
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt/pepper

Whisk vinegar, oil, lemon juice and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Saute garlic over medium heat in vegetable oil. Toss in kale and cook until it begins to wilt. Add basil and continue to saute until basil darkens through. Remove from heat and toss with dressing.

For the fish

Pat fish dry and place skin down on a cedar plank. Pat sesame crust over flesh. Grill over indirect heat until done. Serve over warm kale.

 

 

Posted in Dinner, Food, Grilling/Smoking, Seafood, Sides | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Sunday Suppers: One Dish Wonders

Who doesn’t love a hearty pasta when the temperature drops? That’s rhetorical. If you answered no, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Baked Penne with Eggplant and Capers

This is healthy, the pasta's whole wheat

This is healthy, the pasta’s whole wheat

Vegetarian Lasagna

This is not approved by my nana

This is not approved by my nana

Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta, Peas and Prosciutto

That is a landscape

That is a landscape

And the mother of all baked pastas… the timpano

This feeds a family of four four times

This feeds a family of four four times

Posted in Dinner | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Buffalo Chicken and Blue Cheese Mac

By Katherine

Yeah baby so many crazy flavors of awesome

Yeah baby so many crazy flavors of awesome

Greg was so supportive in my bid to create the world’s unhealthiest chili mac that I figured he deserved a reward. (OK, he was a bit of a cad, really, but we had some great blue cheese, some leftover chicken and we buy hot sauce by the gallon.)

First, let me say that if you eat your chicken wings with ranch dressing you’re doing it all wrong. The proper accompaniment is blue cheese. Period. Full stop.

Macaroni and Cheese With Buffalo Chicken and Blue Cheese

  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank’s, but we used Louisiana)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk (not skim)
  • 1 16-ounce package elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, plus 2 tbsp
  • 1/2 cup Camembert or other soft, mild cheese
  • Bread crumbs
  • black pepper to taste

Melt two tablespoons of butter in the microwave. let cool slightly. Mix with hot sauce and toss mix over chicken. Cook pasta in salted water to almost al dente. Drain and put in large mixing bowl. Stir the chicken mix in and set aside. Lightly grease a 9×12 baking dish. Heat milk in a small saucepan very slowly making sure not to bring milk to a boil or scald. Meanwhile melt remaining four tablespons butter in another sauce pan. Add flour and cook roux till medium brown color appears whisking constantly, about 5 minutes. Add warm milk to roux and whisk till thick and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Add cheese, lowering heat. Stir until combined. mixture. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and mix thoroughly. Spoon into baking dish and spread out evenly. Sprinkle remaining blue cheese over top. Then dust with breadcrumbs. Bake at 400 degrees till cheese is browned on top, about 20 minutes.

Posted in Chicken, Dinner, Food, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

My Brief, Winning Foray Into “Redneck” Cooking

By Katherine

It looks mostly ok.....mostly

It looks mostly OK…..mostly

My food isn’t always popular among my coworkers. For every hit, like biscotti, there has been a colossal miss — the muffin that broke an attorney’s fork and the polenta disks with baked ham and homemade pepper jam with cheddar. Wait those sound delicious right? The only takers were my gluten-free boss and a manager who didn’t know what the polenta was, he just knew it was tasty.

So when the signs went up for a chili cook off at work, I thought I would cater to my audience. It’s the South. It’s football season. I had the grand idea to make fried mac and cheese balls with Velveeta, maybe some Rotel and chili with a s—tton of meat. Somehow I would incorporate Fritos.

I laid out my plans to Greg. The ensuing rant included some choice phrases like: “We’re not spending our money on garbage.” “That sounds absolutely foul.” “What did you do with Katherine and how can I get her back?” “This was not permitted in the prenup.” He used the word “no” a lot and said “eww” even more. His face expressed sheer disgust, dismay and horror. For two weeks, he tried to talk me out of the world’s greatest bastardization of chili mac and then when I finally bought the ingredients, he naturally tried to take over. Couldn’t I bake the balls? Did I really need processed cheese?

Pan frying worked the best for reheating

Pan frying worked the best for reheating

In the end I stayed true to my vision — thanks to the support of a kind worker who knew I could cook like a “redneck” — and Greg came around. Sort of.

Hearty Meat Chili with Fried Mac and Cheese Balls

For the Mac and Cheese (adapted from Kraft)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 16 oz. Velveeta or similar processed cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 cups elbow macaroni
  • oil
  • salt/pepper

Cook noodles until al dente, about six minutes. Strain and dump into a large bowl. Salt and pepper and add a bit of oil to keep from sticking. Heat oven to 350. Set milk over medium heat to warm. Do not allow to boil. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook until thick and golden, about 2-3 minutes. Whisk in warm milk and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about five minutes. Stir in cheese and stir until melted, about three minutes. Pour over noodles and stir to incorporate. Pour into a greased pan, either a larger roasting pan or two lasagna pans should do. Bake until warmed through, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely then refrigerate for at least two hours and up to overnight.

To make the Balls

  • Recipe for mac and cheese, above
  • roughly six ounces Fritos, crushed
  • bread crumbs
  • roughly 4 eggs
  • vegetable oil or crisco

Form the macaroni and cheese into roughly half-inch balls. Your hands will get sticky, just keep washing them and don’t touch your face.:) The batch above makes about 100 of this size. Line the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze the balls for at least four hours and up to overnight. Dump Fritos in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Measure them out and then measure an equal amount of bread crumbs and mix the two together. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork. (I prefer to do this an egg at a time to keep it cleaner and to avoid wasting too many eggs.) Set a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and bring oil to temperature. When a few drops of water make the oil sizzle, you’re good to go. Working in batches, dip each ball in the beaten egg and then into the Frito bread crumb mix. Place in hot oil. Cook for about a minute and a half on each side, or until golden and warmed through. These can be refrigerated and reheated. Bake at about 10 minutes at 350 to rewarm.

For the Chili

  • 4 pounds of ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 14-ounce cans of beef broth
  • 1 14-ounce can of whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 28-ounce can of tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 2 medium onions, diced,
  • 3 small green peppers
  • 2-3 jalapenos, diced
  • salt/pepper
  • chili powder to taste**
  • hot sauce to taste (I used Tapatio and Louisiana)
  • vegetable oil or bacon fat

Get out your big stockpot, at least eight quarts. Saute onions in oil or bacon fat until tender, about five minutes. Add peppers and jalapenos and saute again until tender, a few minutes. Add meat and brown. Stir constantly or the pork won’t down. Once browned, drain as much grease as possible. Season the meat with chili powder, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, beef broth and a few dashes of hot sauce. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook until thick, about 90 minutes or more. Stir often. Taste and adjust seasoning after the first hour, adding more hot sauce, chili powder, salt and pepper. The chili should be thick like a hearty stew. To serve, fill a bowl with the chili and drop in a few mac balls. Have some hot sauce on the side.

**I don’t believe in measuring chili powder because I use it quite liberally. I’d say start with a quarter cup and go from there.

A few notes, oh wait… check this out first…

Haters gonna hate...

Haters gonna hate…

Back to the notes:

  • Don’t make this chili without the mac. It tastes fine, but it needs something and what it needs is a generous helping of ooey gooey fried mac balls.
  • If you’re reheating this in a crockpot to serve at a chili cookoff for instance, you might have to add a bit of water. The meat really soaks it up. If you can serve the chili right after you cook it you’ll be better off.
  • This recipe serves a lot. It’s probably OK to cut the recipe in half, if you’re not serving a large crowd.
  • We taste tested baked balls and they didn’t hold together during reheating. Some things you just have to fry.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Food, Rants, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments