Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Day ~ No "traditions" just lots of food, family, and football!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I get so excited for Thanksgiving! I love writing the menu, the shopping list, and the prep list. I love looking through old recipes, just as much as I love looking through my latest cooking magazine for new ideas.  This year I found a couple of old, fun recipes. One is a caramelized onion dip, which goes very well with chips and /or veggies. The other one is Parmesan cheese & scallion pastry rounds,  Yummmm! 

Thanksgiving is about being thankful, and sharing a meal with loved ones.
I am very happy that my daughter's (Cristina) boyfriend, Mario will be joining us for Thanksgiving this year. Mario is from Peru, so I am adding aji amarillo to our table which is a common condiment in Peru.  

What am I thankful for? My kids. I have the best kids a mom could ever hope to have.

Happy Thanksgiving and Bon Appetit!

Here are some pictures from last years Thanksgiving feast. 

Roasted Turkey, stuffed with fresh herbs, citrus, onions and garlic.
 Herb rub under the skin,  as well as
 all over the bird.

My great grandma's red hot apples

Baked acorn squash, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little brown sugar. Olive oil drizzled  on top.

The works!

My grandma's broccoli, cheese, and rice casserole.

Cranberry sauce, one of my favorite dishes to make.

Simple, yet tasty......cheese, crackers, fresh and dried fruit platter

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Perfect Day ~

The perfect day for me:

It's bright and early on a Saturday morning. I wake up my 16 yr old daughter Kitty, and off we go to begin our day. Our first stop is Peet's coffee. I order my usual, "medium coffee in a large cup," Kitty orders her drink of choice, and we head to the Farmers's Market in the city.
My heart starts to pound as we get closer to the market. The sights, the sounds, the smells....where do we begin? We start off perusing the front, then make our way to the bread store. I do believe there's nothing better than having a 'fresh from the oven' cheese pastry. We wander through the building making our way to where I believe is the best part of the market....the back. The hustle and bustle of the people, the music, and the samples! (This is the only place I taste samples.) The sweetest  pears, the fresh tomatoes, herbs for days!
We pick and choose carefully, all the while my mind is spinning with excitement as the ideas of what we will prepare for dinner fill my head.
Once we get home, I put on some music, open a bottle of wine, and start cooking!
 Bon Appetit!

Roasted beet salad, with mandarin oranges, and Spring Mix, tossed  in homemade raspberry vinaigrette.
The bread, the sausage, and the sauerkraut-oh my! This was such a wonderful end to a fabulous day!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Sweet Potato Mash...Quick, Easy, and Healthy too!

Thanksgiving is fast approaching us (17 days from this post) and I am already getting requests for recipes. This one is for Courtney:

Sweet Potato Mash

Sweet Potato 2 lg
Veg or Chicken stock 1/2 - 3/4 cup
Juice and zest of one lemon
Honey or Agave 1-2 teaspoons
Freshly grated nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon
s/p to taste

Add cubed, (peeled) sweet potatoes to boiling salted, water. Boil until fork tender. Drain well and return to pot. Add the remaining ingredients and mash, adding more stock if needed.
Taste/adjust seasoning as needed.
For added flavor, add your favorite herb , finely chopped and folded into mashed sweet potatoes.
Serve warm.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Quesadilla" It's not what you think...

I married into a Latin family. I love their food, and over the years I have learned how to make most of the common dishes native to Nicaragua. I learned by watching my husband's grandma cook. She didn't speak English, and I didn't speak Spanish, so I would take my pad of paper and pen to the kitchen and write down her every move. I would then go home and practice until I got it right. Luckily my husband was a willing participant, and tasted as I completed each step, telling me what it needed or didn't need.
One of the things I have "perfected" is "quesadilla." it's not a quesadilla as you know it, it's a combination between a bread and a cake, sweet and savory. I have modified it a little, and in my opinion, improved it.  (IF I do say so myself!)
Every time we go to a family gathering, they ask me to bring my quesadilla. No problem! It's super simple to make.....the "problem" is, they like it too much!
For example: Yesterday I made two 9"x13" pans of quesadilla for a family gathering. My quesadilla's never had a chance to cool off! I took them out of the oven, turned around, and found everyone gathered back at the table waiting for a piece. I served them piping hot from the oven. Two pans GONE in a matter of minutes!
Next thing I know, I am being asked to make 2 more.....so I did.  :)

On a side note: Quesadilla originated from El Salvador, but is common throughout Central America.