A week of Christmas: recipe wrap-up

February 13, 2012

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As you may remember, my Christmas coping strategy was to keep myself busy in the kitchen. I did so with gusto the entire long weekend, and here, finally, are the photos and recipes I said I’d post. I realize that you’ve probably forgotten all about my promise but I haven’t, and in that collection of twisted wires I call my brain, I will not be able to move on and write new posts until I take care of this outstanding business. I seem to have tidied-away my menu plan for the week, but fortunately I sorted my photos into a Christmas Week 2010 folder.

If you care to print any of the recipes, I have inserted a page-break at the beginning of each recipe so that it can be on its own piece of paper.

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*Denotes a deviation from the original recipe.

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Greek Salad with Sardines
(work lunches for the week; original recipe at eatingwell.com)

Ingredients

3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 medium tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1 large English cucumber, cut into large chunks
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons sliced Kalamata olives
2 4-ounce cans sardines with bones, packed in olive oil or water, drained

Preparation

Whisk lemon juice, oil, garlic, oregano and pepper in a large bowl until well combined. Add tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, feta, onion and olives; gently toss to combine. Divide the salad among 4 plates and top with sardines.

 

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Sweet & Sour Pork
(Friday parental dinner; original recipe at eatingwell.com)

Ingredients

1 pound trimmed boneless pork shoulder or butt, cut into 1/4-inch-thick bite-size slices
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry, divided
1-1/2 teaspoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon ketchup
1-1/2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil, divided
1/2 cup sliced carrot (1/4 inch thick)
1 small tomato, thinly sliced into wedges (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
2 cups bite-size pineapple chunks, fresh or juice-packed canned (drained)

Preparation

Combine pork, ginger, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons rice wine (or sherry), 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in sesame oil until well combined.

Combine pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup and brown sugar in a small bowl. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine (or sherry) and 2 teaspoons cornstarch.

Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 1 tablespoon peanut (or canola) oil. Carefully add the pork in one layer. Cook undisturbed for 1-1/2 minutes, letting it begin to sear. Then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry until the pork is lightly browned but not cooked through, 1 minute. Transfer to a plate.

Swirl the remaining 1 tablespoon oil into the wok, add carrot and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Return the pork with any juice to the wok. Add tomato and scallions and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Swirl in the pineapple juice mixture, add pineapple and stir-fry until the pork is just cooked through and the sauce is lightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes more.

(Note: I am a sad sack and don’t have an actual wok. *I made this in a large pan at only medium-medium-high temperatures.)

 

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Turkey-Mushroom Strata
(Saturday parental dinner; recipe at Oxmoor House)

Ingredients

8 ounces frozen multigrain rolls, warmed according to package directions*
Vegetable cooking spray
1 pound turkey breakfast sausage
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms (see my note below)
1/3 cup finely chopped onion (about 1/3 small onion)
1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
4 eggs*
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Preparation

Cut rolls into 1-inch cubes; layer evenly in a 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Set aside.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat until hot. Add sausage, and cook until sausage is browned, stirring until it crumbles; drain if necessary. Layer sausage and cheese over bread cubes.

Add mushrooms and onion to skillet; cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 4 minutes or until tender. Layer over cheese in baking dish; set aside.

Combine milk and remaining 4 ingredients, stirring until smooth. Pour over bread-mushroom mixture in baking dish. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or overnight.

Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

(Note: Though it is more work, I prefer to slice my own mushrooms. The presliced ones are too thick for my preference.)

(Cooking Light Low-Fat, Low-Calorie Quick and Easy Cookbook, Oxmoor House ©1998)

 

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Perfect Cherry Pie
(Parental desserts beginning Saturday night because I knew we’d have more than enough; original recipe at allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, in small pieces, frozen
8 tablespoons very cold cream cheese, in small pieces
1/3 cup ice-cold water
3 (14.5 ounce*) cans water-packed red, tart, pitted cherries, drained and juice reserved
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon butter, in small pieces
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar

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Directions

Mix flour, 2 Tbs. sugar and salt in a food processor. Add 8 Tbs. frozen butter and pulse 4 times, 1 long second each time. Drop shortening and cream cheese into flour mixture; pulse another 4 or 5 times, 1 long second each, until fats are the size of peas and fine gravel.

Dump mixture into a medium bowl; rub through clean fingertips to blend. Stir in water with a rubber spatula until dough clumps form. Press dough with your palm to form a ball, then divide in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap, pressing to form thick disks. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and place a pizza stone or four 9-inch quarry tiles (from a hardware store) on rack to form an 18-inch square. Preheat to 400°F.

In a large saucepan, cook 1 cup cherry juice, 1 cup sugar, potato starch and a pinch of salt over medium-low heat; stir with a rubber spatula until a very thick paste forms. Scrape paste into cherries in a bowl. Add almond extract; stir to combine.

Set a dough disk on a floured work surface. Roll into a 14-inch circle. Fold in half and quickly lift into a 9-inch Pyrex pie plate (not deep-dish). Unfold. Fit dough into pie plate so it is not stretched in any way. Refrigerate.

Roll remaining dough disk into a 12-inch circle. Remove pie shell from refrigerator, add fruit filling, and dot with 1 Tb. butter. Fold dough circle in half; quickly lift onto filling and unfold. Trim all around to 1/2-inch beyond lip of pie plate. Roll overhanging dough under with fingertips; flute.

Set an 18-inch square of heavy-duty foil on tiles or pizza stone. Set pie on foil and bake until crust just starts to color, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, brush with egg white, and sprinkle with 1-1/2 Tbs. sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes longer. Bring foil up around pie to loosely cover edges. Bake until filling bubbles, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack.

 

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Vegetable Soup
(weekend lunches, served with a half-sandwich; my own recipe)

Ingredients

8 cups total of your favorite vegetables cut into small pieces. I used garlic, onions, red bell peppers, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, and sliced mushrooms.
1 T olive oil
large can of diced tomatoes
large can of tomato puree
4 cups chicken broth
your preferred seasonings

Preparation

The beauty of this soup is that you can make it how you like it with as many or as few different vegetables and in whatever proportion you prefer.

Heat a large Dutch oven. Add olive oil. Sauté the onions and peppers until they begin to soften. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato puree, and chicken broth. Season to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 60 minutes.

 

 

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CHRISTMAS DAY DINNER:

Roasted Turkey

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Butternut Squash Gratin

Perfect Cherry Pie with Odell Friek Ale

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Roasted Turkey

Ingredients

Cooking spray
1 whole turkey
1 orange, sliced

Preparation

Throw Betty Crocker out the window and caution to the wind. You don’t need to brine the bird, or deep-fat fry it, or grill it. You can get a moist, juicy turkey from a regular old oven if you do this:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Remove the giblets from the bird’s cavity and add the orange slices. Place the turkey in a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. When the oven is hot, put the turkey in it. Cook at 450° for the first 30 minutes. This quickly sears the exterior, locking in all those tasty juices.

After 30 minutes, reduce the heat only as far as 400°F. Cook until the indicator pops out. Remove from oven and cover with an aluminum foil tent until it’s time to serve.

That was the best turkey I’ve ever made.

 

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts
(adapted from Caramelized Cauliflower recipe on orangette.com, via Sara D)

Ingredients

2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
Olive oil
Fine sea salt

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss the Brussels sprouts halves in a large bowl with plenty of olive oil and a bit of salt. Spread in a single layer on a heavy sheet pan (or two, if one looks crowded), and roast until golden brown and tender, stirring once or twice, about 25 minutes.

(Note: Though my photo shows the Brussels sprouts in a Pyrex baking dish, I did roast them on a sheet, then transferred to keep them warm.)

 

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Butternut Squash Gratin
(original recipe from eatingwell.com)

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 8 cups)
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
2-1/2 cups low-fat milk
1-1/2 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs *and*
1/2 cup shredded or crumbled cheese (*I used feta)

Preparation

Position racks in upper and lower third of oven; preheat to 425°F.

Toss squash in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil until well coated. Divide between 2 baking sheets and spread in an even layer. Roast, stirring once and rotating the pans top to bottom about halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes. (*I found that it took about 45 minutes in my oven.)

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add milk and continue to stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook, stirring, until the sauce bubbles and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

When the squash is done, remove from the oven. Preheat the broiler.

Transfer half the squash to a 2-quart. Spread half the sauce over the squash. Add the remaining squash and top with the remaining sauce. Bake at 400°F until heated through, about 30 minutes.*

Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl. (*I used both bread crumbs and cheese, instead of either/or.)

Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the gratin. Turn oven heat to broil. Place under the broiler and broil, watching closely, until the gratin is bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

 

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Odell Friek Ale
(description from Odell Brewing Co website)

“FRIEK is an evolution, an imaginative amalgamation invented by our brewers. Multiple KRIEK Lambic style ales are fermented with WILD yeast and TART cherries and then moved into OAK BARRELS to age and sour taking on the CHERRY flavors. As the beer matures, FRAMBOISES (raspberries) from Schroyer Family Farms in Fort Collins are handpicked and readied for the beer. The fresh RASPBERRIES are added immediately prior to the final blending. The sweet and tart flavors MINGLE on the tongue with a sparkling dry finish.”

A perfect complement to Perfect Cherry Pie.

 

 

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