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Spiced Fig Compote1

Spiced Fig Compote

November 23, 2015

This is a great appetizer for the big dinner… I always start with a simple cheese plate with a bowl of fig compote. I made this one with a bit of ground coriander and cayenne pepper. It gave it great flavor. I served it with a log of goat cheese and some delicious crackers. I also served a side of sweet spicy nuts.

  • 1 cup dried figs, sliced
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Transfer the figs, orange juice, lemon juice, honey, salt, coriander and cayenne pepper into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer on medium low heat for about 20 minutes till the figs are cooked down and the moisture has cooked away. Serve with cheese and crackers.

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Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes with Roasted Poblano Sauce

November 22, 2015

I am very proud of this recipe. I combined a bunch of peppers, garlic and onion and roasted them till they became soft and deliciously nutty. I then blended the veggies with cream and milk- I basically made a cream sauce to be used to make scalloped potatoes. I bought a reasonably priced mandolin. Usually they are quite expensive and not worth the money. They are handy to have around- as they make slicing the potatoes a cinch. I was done in no time. The whole dish took me hardly any time to make.

I would recommend making the cream sauce ahead of time if you are planning a big Thanksgiving dinner. You could even freeze the sauce and take it out a day ahead and assemble the potatoes the morning of and then bake them right before eating. They are simply delicious…

  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 anaheim pepper
  • 1 head of garlic with the top sliced off with a drizzle of olive oil and wrapped in aluminum foil
  • ½ medium yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup cream
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the peppers, wrapped garlic and onion onto a lined cookie sheet. Drizzle the peppers and onion with the oil and massage with fingers. Roast in oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until the peppers are charred on the outside. Let cool. Take the skin off the peppers and squeeze the garlic out of the skins.
Add the roasted vegetables into a blender with cream and milk. Blend till smooth and add salt. Keep aside. This can be made two days in advance.

  • 2 pounds red skinned potatoes, sliced thin about 1/8 inch
  • ½ cup queso fresco, shredded

Divide the potato slices into three batches. Add the first to the bottom of an ovenproof dish (9X9). Spread a quarter cup of green sauce. Repeat till you have the third and last bit of potatoes. Pour all of the sauce covering all the potatoes. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Take the foil off and add the cheese. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or till the cheese is golden brown.

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Garam Masala & Cilantro Turkey Breast

Garam Masala and Cilantro Roast Turkey Breast

November 18, 2015

This was voted the best turkey we have ever made. I cooked this delicious turkey breast the same way I have been for the last few years. I like to make a compound butter for under the skin; I like to add bacon on top and I like to stuff the cavity with some citrus. I made the compound butter with garlic, lemon zest, garam masala and cilantro to keep with the Indian theme. It made the turkey super flavorful and delicious!

  • 1 8-9 pound turkey breast
  • ½ stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated
  • Zest of two lemons, save the lemons for the cavity
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons garam masala
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 to 4 bacon strips
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 large onion, cut into quarters
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, skins on
  • 1 to 2 cups homemade turkey stock

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (preferably convection)

Mix the butter with the garlic, lemon zest, salt, garam masala and cilantro. Loosen the skin of the turkey breast and carefully spread the butter under the skin. Salt and pepper inside and outside of the turkey breast. Stuff the cavity with the lemon pieces. Place the bacon strips on top of the turkey breast and place on the stand.
Add the carrots, onion and garlic to the bottom of the roasting pan. Add the stock. Place the stand into the roasting pan. Let turkey sit for 2 to 3 hours before roasting in oven.
Roast in the oven till the internal temperature is 160 degrees F. Half way through the roasting process, take the bacon (when bacon is well done) off and continue cooking. Take out of oven onto a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil for 20 minutes. In the meantime strain the juices out of the roasting pan. Separate the fat and add the juices to the gravy pan.
Slice the turkey and serve with hot gravy.

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Roasted Garlic and Cilantro Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Garlic and Cilantro Mashed Potatoes

November 17, 2015

This was a big hit! I added delicious roasted garlic, cilantro and green onions. I blended the aromatics with half and half and milk. I then added this delicious green sauce to the cooked potatoes. To make it even yummier, I added some grated cheese inside and on top. Everyone loved it!

1 large head of garlic, top trimmed, wrapped in aluminum foil, drizzled with olive oil

Roast the garlic in a 400 degrees F oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Let it cool and squeeze the soft garlic out and keep aside.

  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 4 to 5 green onions, chopped
  • ¾ cup half and half
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Soft roasted garlic

Place the cilantro, green onions, half and half, olive oil, milk, salt and garlic in a blender. Blend till smooth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • 3 pounds baby yellow potatoes, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 cup plus ½ cup shredded pepper cheese

Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer till soft. Drain and put through a food mill or potato ricer. Transfer the mashed potatoes back to the saucepan. Add the cilantro sauce and mix well. Add one cup shredded cheese and mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with ½ cup cheese. Bake in oven covered for 30 minutes, take the aluminum foil off and bake for another 15 minutes or till the top is golden brown. Serve hot.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garam Masala

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garam Masala and Cilantro

November 16, 2015

These Brussels sprouts are very similar to the ones I have made in the past. I just changed up the spices a bit. I added garam masala to the mix. Cilantro finished the process and made this dish absolutely delicious!

  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the sprouts onto a lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, till the sprouts are golden brown. Take out and keep aside.

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup pancetta, chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ cup half and half
  • Salt
  • ½ cup cilantro

Heat a pan with the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook on medium heat till the fat is rendered. Add the walnuts and garam masala. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat. Add half and half and the roasted sprouts. Mix well and add salt if necessary. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.

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Make Ahead Turkey Stock for Thanksgiving Gravy

November 15, 2015

Turkey Stock 5Time to make your own turkey stock!!! It makes a big difference if you use homemade, with your own flavor profile..

By this time of year, most grocery stores have turkey necks and backs for just a few bucks. I buy a pack and roast them simply with olive oil, salt and pepper. I let them hang out in the oven till the pieces are golden brown and delicious looking. I then add them to a big pot full of chicken broth, and lots of vegetables and aromatics. For me garlic and fresh herbs are a must- like thyme, rosemary, etc. I like my gravy dark brown and so use a box of beef broth to richen the color. The stock cooks for at least an hour or two until the liquid is reduced quite a bit- in this case I reduced it to 3 cups. From here you have an option to continue the process and make the gravy and freeze for later. I find the gravy consistency compromised after it is frozen- so I stop at this point and freeze the stock.

You can take it out two days before thanksgiving and let it thaw in the fridge and make the gravy the morning of.

  • About a pound or a pound and a half turkey neck and back
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degree F.

On a lined baking pan, place the turkey parts. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle the salt and pepper. Roast for an hour or till the parts are golden brown. Take out of the oven and keep aside.

Turkey Stock 3

  • Two boxes of 32 oz chicken stock
  • One box of 32 oz beef stock
  • 1 large onion, cut in half
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half
  • 1 cup carrots, roughly cut up
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

In a large stockpot add the chicken stock, beef stock, onion, garlic, carrots, thyme and rosemary. Add the roasted turkey parts and bring to a boil. Once the liquid comes to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours or till the liquid is reduced to about 3 cups. Strain the liquid out by pressing all the goodness out of the cooked vegetables. Take out in a container and refrigerate over night. Skim the excess fat off and freeze till needed.

Turkey Stock 4

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Keema Gobi Different

Ground Meat with Cauliflower (Keema Gobi)

November 11, 2015

I make this dish all the time. I do like to change it up a bit- just to make it more interesting. For this one I first combined green onions, garlic and cilantro and used them as the base. I then used cardamom, cloves and cumin to flavor the dish- the result- absolutely delicious!!

  • 4 green onions, chopped rough
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

Process the aromatics in a food processor until they are chopped fine. Keep aside.

  • 3 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cardamom pods, smashed
  • 3 cloves, smashed
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 cups or a medium sized cauliflower, florets taken apart
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

Heat a heavy saucepan with the olive oil. Add the cumin seeds, cardamom pods and cloves and cook for 30 seconds over medium heat. Add the pork and increase the heat to high. Break the meat with the back of a wooden spoon while browning it, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Add the cauliflower, salt, ground coriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Mix well and cover with lid and lower heat to medium low. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes and take lid off. Break the florets into smaller pieces with the back of a wooden spoon and cook on medium high heat for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Check for seasonings and garnish with cilantro.

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