Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

This is our traditional menu for Thanksgiving. I don't experiment much at Thanksgiving--the family wants their old favorites--but I do change the sweet potato recipe. No one likes them very much except for my mom and me, so I keep trying to find something that will win over Jim and Phillip. Nothing has tempted Phillip, but I think that Jim likes the roasted sweet potatoes the most. I tend to do the smallest turkey possible and add side dishes and courses if we have more people. My grandmother would certainly have added heavenly hash to the table, as well as some kind of greens and probably some black eyed peas, and a corn casserole.
Ama B would have some hot,curried fruit (Use the sweet potato and apricot recipe. Omit the sweet potatoes, and add fresh or canned fruits and a little curry powder to taste.)

Pancetta and winter squash soup or shrimp remoulade

Roast turkey
Cornbread dressing
Green bean casserole
Homemade cranberry sauce
mashed potatoes
Roasted sweet potatoes, or sweet potato casserole
gravy
Ama B's creamed onions
Rolls

Mimoi's pecan pie
pumpkin pie

Fresh salsas - red & green

Red salsa

2-4 tomatoes
1/2-1 onion
1 jalapeno or habanero chile
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
fresh lime juice
salt & pepper

On a grill or a gas cooktop, roast the tomatoes, onions, and chili,turning occasionally, until they are blackened and soft. Chop tomatoes and onions into large dice, and place in a bowl with the cilantro. Chop the chili finely and some of it. Season with salt, lime juice, and taste. Add more chili, salt, lime if needed.

Green salsa

1/2 dozen tomatillos or 1 can
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 jalapeno or habanero chili
1-3 tbl olive oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
lime juice
salt & pepper

If using fresh tomatillos, boil them until soft. If using canned, drain the can.
Saute onion & garlic in olive oil. Add half of the chili and the tomatillos. Saute, smashing the tomatillos with a potato masher or fork. Place in blender & puree. Add chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt & pepper. Taste and add remaining chili if needed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vargas Special

Daniel Vargas fixed this for a big party in Sisal years ago. It's delicious and, once you've chopped everything, really easy.

1 lb onions, chopped
1 lb green or red peppers, chopped
1 1b bacon, chopped
2 lb pork tenderloin, chopped
1 lb manchego cheese, shredded
salt & pepper to taste

In a large skillet saute the bacon until it's mostly cooked. Add onions and peppers and cook until onions are translucent. Add the pork tenderloin, salt & pepper, and cook until pork is no longer pink. Add the manchego cheese to the top and let melt without stirring.

Serve in flour tortillas with fresh salsa.

Mexican Dinner Menu

I first had this at a big party at the Vargas' in Sisal. It's a delicious and relatively easy menu for a crowd. Do a lot of the prep the day before.

Miss Sally's Bean dip & chips

Vargas Special
flour tortillas
fresh red salsa
fresh green salsa

Key lime pie

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Blackeyed Susans

I haven't made this yet, but I ate them last weekend in Charleston. My friend, Kathleen Erickson, made these, and they are fantastic. They are unusual and delicious--salty,sweet,spicy, and addictive. I think that it would be nice to cut the dates in half in order to make these bite-sized.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 lb. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

2 cups all-purpose flour

Salt to taste

Cayenne pepper to taste (I used 2 t.)

1 lb. pitted dates, halved lengthwise (I used large Medjool dates from Fresh Market)

Sugar (I use a shaker)


Blend butter and cheese together in food processor. Mix with flour, salt and cayenne pepper to form dough. Chill. Roll out thinly and cut into small rounds with a biscuit cutter (I used a shot glass!). Place date half on one side of dough round; fold remaining dough over. Pinch edges together like a turnover. Bake on non-stick cookie sheet at 250-300 degrees for 30 minutes. Roll in sugar while hot (I just sprinkled on top.). Serve warm or room temperature. I had refrigerated some of the batch and warmed them tonight in the microwave for 20 seconds on a paper plate and they were perfect.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Italian Sausage and Sauce-Not quick, but very easy

I made this Sunday night for dinner, and it was a hit. I served it with rotini, but I think that it would make delicious Italian sausage sandwiches also. I really wanted to add a fresh red bell pepper to this, but, as you know, Jim doesn't like them.

1 package sweet or mild Italian sausage
1 large onion, sliced
(1 large red bell pepper, sliced)
4 garlic gloves, chopped
1/3 (or so) bottle red wine
1 large can whole Italian tomatoes (I like the Cento brand)
1/2 - 1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste

Brown the sausages. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute until onion is translucent. Add red wine. Chop or crush tomatoes and add. Add rosemary and oregano. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook,stirring occasionally with lid slightly ajar until the sauce has thickened and reduced--1-1 1/2 hours.
For Crockpot:
Brown the sausages. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute until onion is translucent. Add red wine. Chop or crush tomatoes and add. Add rosemary and oregano. Bring to a boil and pour all in crock pot.  Cook on high 3-3 1/2 hours or on low 6-8 hours.  Check the sauce halfway through. If it has not thickened much, leave it partially covered for a while.