Archive for November, 2011

Mexican Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. Around here I happily spent very little time in the kitchen. Mr. Squid took over and made a Mexican feast. I wanted to pass along a few pictures, but I’m saving the recipes for 2012–after all, it’s time to start baking holiday cookies!

Our meal–Mole is a complex, hearty sauce that melds dozens of spices with chiles, chocolate, and nuts. The red mole (mole poblano) we make is traditionally made with turkey. Mr. Squid seared a bone-in turkey breast and then cooked it all day in a mole sauce in the crockpot. After cooking for hours the meat literally fell off the bone–no worries on how to carve the bird! To finish off the meal, he served it with whipped mashed potatoes (my job), fried white and blue corn tortilla strips, ranchero beans and garnished the dish with Mexican crema and fresh cilantro. I wish there were still leftovers!

Mr. Squid used the mole sauce as gravy for the potatoes--yummy

The sauce-soaked meat fell off the bone

Pinto beans roasting with epazote, onions, bacon, tomatoes, and cilantro

For dessert I made a streusel apple pie

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Thanksgiving recipe round-up

What about pumpkin pie...and cheesecake?

Gearing up for the big Thanksgiving holiday?  Here are some recipes to make quick appetizers, yummy sides, and desserts for the big day. Also, if you’re looking to learn a little bit more about the first Thanksgiving, check out my post at WanderingEducators.

Appetizers

Forget the crackers and cheese tray: These appetizers will impress your guests, without you spending hours in the kitchen.

Veggie quesadillas

Throw together these quesadillas for a quick pre-meal munchie for guests.

Edamame Spread

Maggie Long of the Ann Arbor’s Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery serves this edamame spread with pizza pieces, you could use sourdough bread slices.

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Hummus

Crisp pita chips to go along with this hummus that uses peanut butter in place of tahini sauce.

Sides

Add dried cranberries to give the bistro green beans a holiday flare

Looking to tweak your stand-by holiday sides just a little? These recipes will give you some ideas.

Whipped mashed potatoes

Use your hand-held blender and extra milk to make your potatoes extra creamy.

Bistro green beans

Update your green bean dish with this recipe. Bonus: it won’t take up oven space.

Butter crescent rolls

Looking for a no-fail roll recipe? This IS it.

Dessert

Along with pumpkin pie, why not try some of these tempting sweets too?

Achatz apple pie

Michigan’s premiere pie maker, Wendy Achatz, passed along this simple recipe. Start peeling the apples…

Raspberry tart

Use a pre-made piecrust in a tart pan for something a little fancier than pie. And don’t worry, this dessert only looks hard to make.

Pumpkin cookies

Why not put the pumpkin in cookies instead of pie this year? Just Baked’ s Pam Turkin shares her recipe.

Chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake

Usually, I save this for Christmas, but my teen has been begging for us to have this on Thanksgiving too.

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Whipped mashed potatoes

Growing up my Thanksgiving assignment was always potato duty. I’d use the potato masher to work out all of the lumps, then make it creamy by adding melted butter and milk at the end. But it never seemed like the butter really worked its way into the potatoes using the masher. Not any more! I use my handheld mixer instead of the masher to turn out creamier potatoes.

Whipping your potatoes takes a lot less time and it gives them an airy consistency that just soaks up gravy. I add butter for flavor and milk as the liquid but you can play around with both ingredients to make your potatoes healthier—or more decadent.

To lighten this recipe you can use nonfat sour cream (or nonfat cream cheese) and nonfat milk to give the whipped mashed potatoes their smooth texture. But if you’re not worried about the calories (and hey, if this is for Thanksgiving, who is?!), you can add both the butter, sour cream and use half and half or heavy cream in place of the milk. I’ve included a balanced version here—just enough butter so that you can taste it but not so much dairy that it overwhelms the potato flavor.

That brings me to potatoes. For mashing, I usually use whatever is on sale at the grocery store, which means I get the big bag marked ‘Idaho potatoes.’ But if you’re looking for something different, Yukon Gold potatoes have a yellow flesh that’s sweeter than the Idaho variety, when I want to splurge, I buy Yukons.

Recipe

Prep time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

5-8 medium potatoes

2 Tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces

¼-1/3 cup milk

¼ cup sour cream (optional)

Salt

pepper

Directions

  1. Peel and dice the potatoes into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Bring a large cooking pot filled with water to a boil. Add ½ teaspoon salt to the water.
  3. Carefully place the potatoes into the boiling water and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the potatoes and add them to a large mixing bowl, place the butter on top immediately.
  5. Using a handheld mixer, start on the lowest setting, mixing the butter into the potatoes for 2 minutes.
  6. Add half of the milk and mix on medium high. Add more milk until you reach your desired consistency.
  7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

*This recipe can be doubled—or tripled…

More Thanksgiving recipes to come! I have a winner in the Hardwood Oak Cutting Board Giveaway. It was lucky #16 this time. Congrats to TeresaR.

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Cookbook Review: The Parchment Paper Cookbook

Nearly back-to-back parent teacher conferences. Somehow the day I planned to make the stuffed chicken breast recipe from The Parchment Paper Cookbook fell on the same day I had about 20 minutes at home between conferences.

Originally, I had intended to take my time figuring out how to neatly fold the parchment paper like the examples in the cookbook, it didn’t quite work out that way: Instead my pepper shaker was poised between the pages showing how to fold the paper while I madly cut each chicken breast in half and then squished the stuffing inside.

My twisting technique ended up looking more like a king-sized tootsie roll than the neat folds described in the cookbook. I was sure that the sauce was going to leak out and I was going to have a messy plan to clean up despite the books plug that these are ‘no pots, no pans, no mess’ recipes. It didn’t. No leaks! The chicken breasts turned out moist with stuffing cooked inside and coated in a light, mustard sauce, despite my lack of folding skills. I’m looking forward to trying more recipes, especially the s’mores crepes. I’m including my tweaked recipe of Stuffed Chicken Breast from The Parchment Cookbook by Brette Sember. You can find more of her recipes at NoPotCooking.com. And for easy dishes for Thanksgiving, there’s even a 99-cent ebook of no-mess recipes available through November 19th.

Recipe: Stuffed Chicken Breast

Prep time: 20 minutes (or less:)

Servings: 4-6


Ingredients

3 chicken breasts

3 tablespoons walnuts

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 teaspoons olive oil

3 tablespoons chopped ham

3 tablespoons bread crumbs or panko

6 teaspoons chicken broth, plus 4 tablespoons reserved

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

2 tablespoons white grape juice (or chicken broth)

3 teaspoons Dijon mustard

3 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon white Balsamic vinegar (optional; any light vinegar will do)

lemon (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut three 20-inch pieces of parchment paper.
  3. Line your baking sheet with foil (just in case ).
  4. Put the chicken breast on the parchment and carefully make a slit into the side, careful not to cut all the way through.
  5. In a small food processor, chop up the nuts with the ham, rosemary, garlic then toss in the olive oil, 3 teaspoons chicken broth, bread crumbs, paprika and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Divide this mixture equally among the slits in the three cut chicken breasts.
  7. In a small bowl combine 4 tablespoons chicken broth, white grape juice, vinegar, cornstarch, and mustard. Divide and pour equally on the three chicken breasts.
  8. Fold the parchment according to the instructions.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Open the packet and serve. I also squeezed a little fresh lemon over each chicken breast.

Recipe note: This recipe was originally to serve one, but I tripled it for three chicken breasts. My chicken breasts happened to be pretty big so I cut them in half for serving (it took about 10 more minutes to cook too). Also, I poked a digital meat thermometer right through the parchment and into the meat so I knew when it was done. I fixed wild rice and green beans to go along with the chicken.

One more note: I wanted to thank Brette Sember for passing along a review copy of her latest cookbook–she has two more in the works!

Don’t forget to check back in tomorrow when I’ll be announcing the winner of the Hardwood Oak Cutting Board Giveaway.

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Chef Q&A with Julie Zak

Close up of Cherry Stuffed French Toast

Chef Week continues with a visit to the White Gull Inn, which has been greeting guests since 1896. Located in Fish Creek part of Wisconsin’s Door County, the area draws visitors year round with its rich history, farm-fresh food and plenty to do with Green Bay to the west and Lake Michigan to the east.

The Inn, located just down the street from Sunset Park—so named for the gorgeous views of Green Bay in the evenings—does have overnight lodging, but many people are drawn to its doors for one reason: breakfast. In 2010, the Inn won of Good Morning America’s Best Breakfast Challenge with one of their signature dishes.

Julie Zak, the Breakfast Chef and kitchen manager describes the Inn’s cooking philosophy this way: “keep it simple, but use the freshest ingredients possible, emphasize local ingredients in season, don’t be afraid to innovate and experiment, and always put quality and consistency first.” Below, find out more of Zak’s kitchen experiences. And for a taste of one of her favorite recipes, try the White Gull Inn Breakfast Rice Pudding.

What three ingredients do you always keep stocked in your pantry?

Flour, maple syrup, dried cherries!

Your favorite meal to make or serve?

Although we are well known for our breakfasts, our lunches also have a large following.  As a special at the Inn and at home, I really love making lasagna, made from scratch with my homemade sauce using vegetables from my own garden and real ricotta cheese and Wisconsin mozzarella.

We all have a favorite indulgence, for a chef like you it must be something spectacular?

I love our Eggs Benedict, but limit myself to an order once every two or three months.

What’s one of your worst cooking mistakes?

My first time cooking Thanksgiving Dinner for my in-laws, I forgot to take the giblets out of the turkey. Although it was embarrassing, we all laughed. I knew I wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last to make that mistake.

What do you suggest for first-timers?  What menu item should they make sure to try?

Definitely the Cherry and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast. The combination of Door County sour cherries with Wisconsin cream cheese stuffed in egg bread, then grilled and served with maple syrup, is by far our most popular item at our breakfasts and was voted winner of Good Morning America’s Best Breakfast Challenge in 2010. Turkey hash with Dijon gravy would be a great accompaniment.

Don’t forget to enter the hand-crafted oak cutting board giveaway!

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White Gull Inn Breakfast Rice Pudding

White Gull Inn in the wintertime Photo credit: White Gull Inn

A special thanks to Julie Zak, the Breakfast Chef and Kitchen Manager at the White Gull Inn for providing this recipe. The White Gull Inn is located in Fish Creek, part of Wisconsin’s picturesque Door County area.

Recipe

Yield: 6 servings


Ingredients

4 cups cooked basmati rice

1 lb. frozen peaches, thawed and coarsely chopped

1 cup pitted, frozen tart cherries, thawed and drained

1 cup heavy whipping cream

½ cup brown sugar, divided

¼ cup rolled oats

¼ cup shredded, sweetened coconut

¼ cup chopped pecans

¼ cup (½ stick) butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 1 ½ quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine rice, peaches, cherries, whipping cream and ¼ cup of the brown sugar in a large bowl. Spoon mixture into prepared dish.
  3. In a small bowl, mix remaining ¼ cup brown sugar, rolled oats, coconut, pecans and melted butter; sprinkle over rice mixture. Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

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Giveaway! Handcrafted Oak Cutting Board

With Thanksgiving just 15 days away (yes, 15!), I wanted to show my thanks to MKES readers with a chance to win a hand-crafted oak cutting board with maple and walnut inlays.

But before I get to the giveaway, I wanted to share a share a few details about what makes these cutting boards so special.

The boards started as a way to recycle scraps leftover from Ralph Teets’ woodworking business based in Girard, Ohio. After crafting furniture, cabinets, and clocks, Teets often had ends leftover that he just couldn’t bear to throw away. Instead, he started making cutting boards as gifts for friends and with his wife Joanne’s encouragement he started selling them online at Cutting Board Art and at craft shows.

A good, hardwood cutting board, explained Teets, can be something for you to pass down to your kids–and grandkids. Like cast iron cookware, if you take care of hardwood, it lasts. And lasts.

Here are Teets’ suggestions for keeping your cutting boards in tip-top shape:

Don’t put the board in the dishwasher. Ditto with submerging it, or soaking it, in water.

Do go ahead and rinse the board with water and a mild antibacterial soap to clean.

Don’t use the board in a microwave or oven.

Do condition the board with butcher block oil.

It’s simple to enter, just leave a comment here explaining your favorite holiday fixin’ for your chance to win the Linear Cutting Board pictured above.

The giveaway winner will be chosen at random from all entries received before 9p.m. EST next Wednesday, November 16th. I’ll announce the winner the following day, November 17th. (Only open to residents in the continental United States.)

*Just a note: Cutting Board Art provided a review cutting board to MKES along with one to giveaway to a reader. Thanks.

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Fagioli Calabrese from Compari’s on the Park

Compari’s on the Park chef, Tony Yaquinto, shared his restaurant’s favorite recipe for fagioli calabrese.

Recipe
Ingredients

2 Tbs julienne fennel
2 Tbs julienne hungarian pepper (hot)
1 Link Hot Italian Sausage (cooked & chopped)
1 Tbs roasted red pepper
pinch chopped fresh garlic
3 Tbs butter beans
1 Cup fresh spinach
1/8 cup chicken stock
1/8 cup white wine (substitute: white grape juice)
2 cups cooked tubetti pasta
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
Directions

  1. Saute fennel, hungarian pepper and italian sausage in canola oil, cook until the veggies are tender.
    Add roasted red peppers, garlic, beans, and spinach, then cook till beans are hot and spinach cooks down.
  2. Deglaze the pan with chicken stock and white wine (or white grape juice).
  3. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add pasta, butter, and Parmesan cheese; simmer till creamy.
  4. Top with fresh Parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper (or crushed red pepper).
  5. Enjoy this Southern italian favorite with fresh Italian bread with butter.

Keep reading during MKES’s Chef Week, tomorrow I’ll be starting a cool giveaway!

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Chef Q&A with Tony Yaquinto from Compari’s on the Park

It’s Chef Week at MyKidsEatSquid. I’ll be featuring Chef Q&As, along with their favorite recipes all week. Look for a great giveaway coming up Wednesday too!

First up, Tony Yaquinto, head chef at Compari’s on the Park in Plymouth, Michigan. He’s the first chef who has pointed out using a special ingredient I’ve discovered from Mexican cooking, Maggi sauce, which has the depth of soy sauce without being overpowering (I’ll have to post on the miracle of Maggi sauce another time). On to Chef Yaquinto…


What three ingredients do you always keep stocked in your pantry?

I would like to say onion, chicken stock and kosher salt. Onion is the base for great soups and sauces and stocks. I use just standard white onions—a lot of them. Kosher salt is what I use to season all my food. And chicken stock, or even vegetable stock, is good for making sauces or even cooking ingredients in when you want to add flavor.

Your favorite meal to make or serve?

Pork tenderloin. Usually when I have family or friends over that’s what I make. It’s inexpensive and easy to prepare. I like to marinate it then grill it. With the marinade I usually put in a little bit of everything—oil, salt, pepper, garlic and I have a spice at home and in the restaurant I use for seasoning called Maggi and I put that in too. I might also rub on brown sugar and mustard to give it a nice crust.

We all have a favorite indulgence, for a chef like you it must be something spectacular?

Once a week I like to have a nice, big breakfast. A couple eggs over easy, bacon or sausage, toast.

What’s one of your worst cooking mistakes?

I do a cooking club here at the restaurant once a month. We meet with some guys that live around town. Once we made a cheesecake and one of the guys used salt instead of sugar–it came out a little bit salty. We always joke about it.

What do you suggest for first-timers to Compari’s on the Park? What menu item should they make sure to try?

I would recommend the fagioli calabrese. This dish is very unique, it’s something we came up with a few years ago and just started playing with since. It has butter beans, banana peppers, chicken stock, Italian sausage, white wine, cheese, and noodles. People may not be familiar with it, but 90% of those who try it fall in love with it.

Tomorrow I’ll pass along the recipe for Chef Yaquinto’s fagioli calabrese pictured above.

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What to do with 10 pounds of tomatoes

“You can get a deal if you buy a box,” a woman offered as I was picking over Roma tomatoes at one of my favorite local grocers, Miles Market. For $5 you could buy a 10-pound box of slightly bruised Romas. I debated. Lately I’ve been trying to trim my grocery bill by planning my dinners a week ahead of time and making sure that whatever I buy, I use. But to get a whole box of Romas for the price I usually pay for a few? I caved and bought the box. Now I’m quickly trying to use every last tomato.

Here are a few of the things I’ve been cooking to make it through all of my tomatoes:

Simple marinara: I blended 20 cut tomatoes with 2 large cloves garlic and 1 cup fresh basil then I added it to a pan of about 4 tablespoons heated olive oil. I simmered the sauce for about 20 minutes then added a dash of cayenne pepper. I served this over pasta with fresh Parmesan cheese. Simple, tasty. I froze the extra sauce.

Homemade enchilada sauce: Instead of adding canned tomatoes to my homemade enchilada sauce, I added in fresh ones. Usually I’d roast and seed the tomatoes but this time I just threw them in skins, seeds, and all.

Tomato Chutney: This yummy recipe from Attainable Sustainable uses plenty of ripe tomatoes; it cans well too.

Chipotle Pico de Gallo: Fresh salsa anyone? The only drawback to pico de gallo and my stack of tomatoes is that this salsa doesn’t keep.

Roasted Tomato-Arbol Salsa: Roasted tomatoes are the key to a really great salsa so I was going to make this one from Rick Bayless. I’m adding some ancho chiles along with the arbol. Plus, this salsa will keep in the refrigerator for days. I’ll be tripling the batch, then freezing some.

Caprese salad: My tomatoes might be getting a bit too squishy for this, but I love caprese salad with its slices of fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil and a drizzling of olive oil. Looking at Frugal Kiwi’s post this week about mozzarella, I’ve really been wanting to give cheese making a try. For now, I’m making caprese omelets where my quickly ripening tomatoes are just perfect.

Your turn–what would make with 10 pounds of ripe tomatoes?

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