Roasted fingerling potatoes with garlic and thyme

roasted fingerling potatoes

Springtime brings new potatoes, and they are addictive when roasted in a bit of olive oil with fresh thyme and garlic and sprinkled with salt. I like to roast these miniature potatoes which are called fingerlings, ’cause, well, they look like fingers! The yellow ones are Russian fingerlings and the red ones are French fingerlings. These French ones here are freshly dug new potatoes that I got at the farmer’s market and their skin is very thin.

garlic and thyme in pot

I adapted this recipe from Alice Water’s wonderful cookbook “Chez Pannisse Vegetables”.

Preheat oven to 400

Soak potatoes in salt water for about 10 minutes or so, then scrub the skins. Dry with paper towels.

garlic thyme in olive oil

Select a shallow baking dish that the potatoes can fit  snugly in one layer, Cover bottom of the baking dish with 2 Tb olive oil. Sprinkle about 8 small sprigs of fresh thyme leaves. Halve a bulb of garlic crosswise and separate the cloves, (you don’t need to peel them), and place them in the dish.

fingerling potatoes before roasting

Toss the potatoes in the oil then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  Arrange the potatoes so they fit snugly in the dish in one layer, and the garlic and thyme are evenly disbursed. Add 1/4 cup of water for a 8″ square baking dish, less for a smaller one. Tightly cover with a lid or foil.

Bake at 400 for 40 minutes. Uncover dish and bake for another 5 minutes or so until potatoes are dry and a fork easily pierces them. Sprinkle with more salt and serve hot.

Roasted Mushroom Turkey Gravy

Roasting the mushrooms adds a whole new dimension of flavor and texture to this classic turkey gravy. Stirring the gravy will build up your arm muscles.


Makes about 3 cups gravy

Ingredients:

1 pound crimini mushrooms, cleaned well

About 2 Tb olive oil to coat mushrooms

5 dried shiitake mushrooms

Approximately 2 Tb to 1/4 cup dried Chanterelle mushrooms

1 cup warm water for soaking dried mushrooms

1/4 cup dry sherry

several grinds black pepper

1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Turkey drippings from Thanksgiving turkey

Salt to taste if not using brined turkey drippings

Directions:

Start the mushrooms the day before Thanksgiving. Scrub mushrooms with a soft brush or wet paper towel and rinse well. Chop the woody ends of the stems.

Preheat oven to 425′ Toss mushrooms with olive oil until well coasted.

roasted mushrooms.jpg

Place on an oiled pan and roast for 15 minutes until they are nicely browned and soft.

You can also soak dried mushrooms. I used a combination of dried shiitake and Chanterelle. I roasted the reconstituted shiitakes for 5 minutes, but that was just taking it to the next level. When mushrooms are cool enough to handle, cut into fourths, sixths or eighths, depending on the size of the mushroom. Discard the shiitake stems since they are tough. Store cut mushrooms in a container with the soaking liquid, with a splash of sherry.

Boil giblets and neck with  1 cup water, 1/2 onion, a celery stalk, fresh thyme and pepper for an hour. When cool, chop giblets finely if you want to add them to the gravy. Store in a container until turkey is cooked.

When turkey is roasted, pick up the turkey from the roasting rack and place over the serving platter. Let it sit for 15 minutes before carving.

If you roasted your turkey without liquid, stir sherry in the roasting pan and heat while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Stir in mushroom liquid, turkey stock and  Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup or boxed turkey stock to make 2 3/4 cups.

If using my recipe for Thanksgiving Turkey, use the liquid and roasted vegetables at the bottom of the pan for gravy:

???????????????????????????????Remove large pieces of herbs from the liquid, then pour liquid into a fat separating cup. This is a cup that has a spout connected to the bottom of the cup.  The fat will rise to the top and only the fat-free liquid will pour out. Add reserved turkey broth, sherry and mushroom liquid to make 2 3/4 cups stock.

Measure out 1/2 cup fat left in the cup. If there is not 1/2 cup, then add chicken fat and/or butter. Pour into a medium saucepan. Whisk in sifted flour over medium heat to make a roux. Cook the roux about 7 minutes over medium heat, stirring often, until it begins to darken to the shade of peanut butter.

Heat the stock to a boil in a medium pot. Put the roux in a large mixing bowl. Set beaters on low and slowly pour in the hot turkey broth, beating constantly.  Add minced thyme, rosemary, and several grinds black pepper. Beat the gravy on medium high until it is smooth. Pour the gravy into the pot and heat until it is simmering. Stir gravy fwhile it heats to a boil.

Add the mushrooms, and chopped giblets if desired, and cook 5 minutes stirring constantly. The gravy will thicken, although you may not notice it until it cools down, but it should coat the back of a spoon. Adjust salt to taste if necessary.

Thanks to the San Francisco Chronicle food section for their tips on making gravy with roux.

Roasted Chicken Breasts with Meyer Lemon and Italian Herbs

This is quick and easy. The chicken is fragrant and juicy. A good way to use those chicken breasts on sale. Use roasted bones and skin for Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup  ; perfect to make broth for Minestrone Soup on a rainy day.

5 bone-in chicken breasts with skin attached
Olive oil, about 3 Tb
5  garlic cloves, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
2 Tb fresh thyme, minced
About 1 Tb each dried oregano and thyme
About 1 tsp chili flakes
Sea salt and pepper
Fresh basil leaves
2 lemons: ½  sliced and 1 ½  juiced and zest grated
 

Preheat oven to 450′

Oil a large roasting pan

Salt underside of breasts. Place breasts in pan, skin side up

Stuff garlic, rosemary, fresh thyme and a lemon slice under each breast skin

Sprinkle dried herbs, chili flakes, salt and pepper over breasts

Sprinkle olive oil over breasts

Roast in 450’ oven for 50 minutes

Squeeze lemon juice over cooked chicken. Garnish with fresh basil and Meyer lemon zest.

Green Eggs and Ham

Perfect to serve to Sam-I-am on Dr. Suess’s birthday, March 2.

serves 2

1 cup whole kale leaves, stems and ribs removed

1 cup spinach leaves , stems removed

1 scallion

1 tsp fresh thyme

4 eggs whipped well

2 Tb milk

2 Tb crumbled feta cheese

1 Tb grated Parmesan cheese

shake salt to taste

grind pepper

Wash all vegetables and mince finely in food processor.

Heat nonstick skillet. Holding butter stick, grease pan, using approx. ¼ tsp butter. Add minced vegetables and sauté over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Whip eggs with milk, salt and pepper, and cheeses. Mix  vegetables into eggs. Clean pan and fry up ham slices. Remove ham and coat pan with butter again, then add egg mixture. Push eggs around with spatula so they don’t brown. Cook over medium heat until desired consistency is reached. Serve with ham to Sam-I-am

Say! I like green eggs and ham!
I do! I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would eat them in a boat.
And I would eat them with a goat,

And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good, so good, you see!

So I will eat them in a box.
And I will eat them with a fox.
And I will eat them in a house.
And I will eat them with a mouse.
And I will eat them here and there.
Say! I will eat them ANYWHERE!

I do so like
green eggs and ham!
Thank you!
Thank you,
Sam-I-am!

by Dr. Seuss

Mardi Gras Red Beans

I made these  beans for our Mardi Gras potluck at work using Andouille (Ahn-DUE-we)  sausages, which add a spicy Cajun flavor. It’s traditionally a smoked pork sausage, brought to Louisiana by Acadian settlers. I didn’t want to eat too much pork, so bought two kinds: Niman Ranch Pork and Smoked Chicken from Open Nature (by Lucerne foods -Safeway). I liked the chicken links the best; they were spicy and not as greasy as the pork, and they were cheaper too. Trader Joe’s chicken Andouille is even better and spicier.

Fresh produce and herbs are best, but with winter prices so high for the fresh, I substituted frozen bell peppers and basil from Trader Joe’s. If using fresh basil, add it at the end of cooking.  My thyme and oregano plants are sending out new leaves, so I used them fresh.

2 Tb olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 minced garlic cloves

4 medium stalks celery, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped, seeds, stem and membrane removed (or substitute 1 cup frozen)

2 jalapeño peppers, remove seeds, stem and membrane and finely dice

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, minced

3 T fresh Italian parsley

1 Tb fresh basil, julienned, or  1 cube frozen basil

1 Tb fresh oregano, diced

6 Andouille sausages, quartered lengthwise, then sliced crosswise

2 bay leaves

½  tsp red pepper flakes

10 cups water or chicken broth

4 cups dried red kidney beans

¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper

salt to taste after beans are cooked

Bring water or chicken broth to a boil. If using water, use a teakettle (I had to fill the teakettle twice). Heat oil in a large heavy pot. Sauté onions, jalapeño, celery and bell pepper until soft, then add sausages and seasonings and sauté on medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Add the hot water or chicken broth. Rinse beans well, removing broken beans and any stones, and add to water or chicken broth. Let boil for 15 minutes, stirring well to loosen any ingredients from the bottom. Pour into crock pot and let it cook all day or night, depending on whether you start it in the morning or in the evening.

When beans are tender, add 2 to 3 tsp salt to taste. Cook at least ½ hour more to let the beans and broth absorb the salt. Stir in fresh basil and parsley.

Serve over rice and with a piece of cornbread.

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 20
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 97.6
  • Total Fat: 4.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 8.6 mg
  • Sodium: 677.1 mg
  • Total Carbs: 10.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3.7 g
  • Protein: 4.8 g

Thanksgiving Turkey

All summer long I’ve been watching my sage plant grow, looking forward to stuffing my Thanksgiving turkey with it. Now it’s Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving and I’m about to transform my $6.77 Safeway turkey into a moist, tender, fragrant roast. I brine the turkey using fresh herbs, honey and lemons. Before roasting the turkey, I stuff it with fresh herbs and slather it with garlic-infused olive oil instead of butter.

I bought my turkey on Saturday and it has been defrosting for the last three days on a pan in the fridge, and I just made the brine. I adapted the brine recipe years ago from Bon Appétit. Their recipe is for a 19- to 20-pound, bird, but works fine with my almost 16 pound one. I prefer to brine in a bucket, as you never know what chemicals are  in the plastic garbage bags. I went to my local deli (Saul’s) and asked them to give me a 5 gallon white pickle bucket. You can also ask a bakery for a frosting bucket. You can also buy a brining bag. My husband found one for $6. But when we lifted the turkey in the brining bag with the brine inside it broke! So don’t do that! Instead put the sealed brining bag inside a garbage bag for extra strength.
Brine:

brine ingredients

2 cups coarse kosher salt
1 cup honey or maple syrup
A bunch each of fresh thyme, rosemary and sage
8 large garlic cloves – peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons coarsely cracked black pepper
2 lemons — cut in eighths

Water to cover turkey

Heat a large pot with water, salt, and honey, and stir until they dissolve. Pour into the bucket or brining bag along with enough ice and cold water to fill it about 1/3 or so. Alternatively, heat about 4 cups (1 quart) of water and stir in honey and salt on Monday night before Thanksgiving. Let cool, then store in the refrigerator until Tuesday morning.

Add fresh herbs, lemon quarters, and garlic. Grind the pepper into the water and stir until most of the ice melts. Rinse the turkey inside and out,and reserve the giblets for soup and gravy.

Tear off the large piece of fat near the bottom cavity, wrap in plastic and freeze it. You will later mix this with herbs to rub under the breast skin.

Place turkey in the bucket or brining bag so that both cavities fill with brine and the large cavity end is up. Add enough cold water so that the turkey is submerged. Cover, and place in the refrigerator for 18 to 24 hours.
brining bagbrine garbage bag

On Wednesday morning, rinse turkey inside and out. Place large cavity-side down into the bucket (or a pot if using a brining bag) and let it drain for two hours in the refrigerator. Flip it so the other cavity can drain and leave it in the fridge for another hour or two. Then pat it dry and set on a rack over the roasting pan. Let it air dry, uncovered in the refrigerator for another 18-24 hours.

Leave a cube of butter out overnight so it will be soft on Thanksgiving Day.

On Thanksgiving morning, preheat oven to 400’. Rinse turkey and transfer to the serving platter and  pat  dry. Clean the roasting pan thoroughly and dry it. Spray both pan and roasting rack with canola oil spray.

Ingredients to stuff and surround turkey:

1 cube softened unsalted butter

8 cloves garlic

6 bay leaves

3 stalks celery

1 large red onion

2 leeks

1 bunch parsley

1 bunch thyme

several large sprigs rosemary, plus more for decoration

several large sprigs sage, plus more for decoration

1 orange

2 lemons

2 carrots

garlic olive oil

black pepper

Cheesecloth and heavy aluminum foil

Chop the frozen fat finely, add 1/2 cup  (1 cube) softened butter, and mix in fresh minced herbs (garlic, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (while singing “Scarborough Fair”) as well as a spoonful of rubbed sage, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and a bit of chopped onion.

Loosen the skin above the breast and stuff the herb-fat mixture into this area.

Push it all the way in so it covers the breast meat under the skin. This will self-baste the turkey. Rub it in the 2 cavities.

Stuff turkey in both cavities with fresh chopped garlic, celery, red onion, leeks, parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, sage, orange and lemon wedges.

Place the rack in the pan and fill the spaces under and around it with more herbs, and as many chopped red onions, leeks, celery and carrots as will fit, and fill with water to about an inch below where the turkey will sit. Place the turkey on the rack, breast side up, and oil the breast side of the turkey with garlic olive oil and grind a bit of pepper over it. Turn it so it is breast side down and oil and pepper the back side. No need to add any salt, as the brine has already salted the turkey.

With turkey breast down, roast for 2 ½  hours. Set timer for 30 minutes to  baste with the liquid that is under the rack. Add more water if needed to keep it to an inch below the turkey rack. Rotate the pan 180′ several times during cooking. When skin becomes crisp and brown, cover with a piece of cheesecloth and tent with foil. Baste the skin over the cheesecloth.

After 2 ½ hours, remove turkey from oven and carefully turn it so that it is breast side up. (I just bought a turkey turner for this. If you don’t have one, use oven mitts covered with paper towels to grab the turkey.) Ask someone to help you hold the rack. Tuck the wing tips under the shoulders.

Insert a food thermometer temperature in the meatiest part of the inner thigh.  After the breast browns, cover with cheesecloth and tent with foil. Continue roasting, rotating and basting for another 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until the thermometer reads 165 °F. Then insert the thermometer into  the thickest part of the breast to make sure it is also at 165 °F. Larger turkeys will of course take an hour or more time.

Remove turkey from oven and let sit for 20 minutes on the serving dish to allow the juices to set and make carving easier. Now it’s time to make your gravy.

Use the liquid and roasted vegetables at the bottom of the pan for gravy. Remove large pieces of herbs from the liquid then pour liquid into a fat separating cup. Pour defatted liquid into your gravy. Follow directions for Roasted Mushroom Turkey Gravy

Serve with

Roasted Mushroom Turkey Gravy

butternut squash soup 

or Chunky Kabocha Soup with Appeal

Spinach Autumn Fruit Salad,

Low fat creamy garlic mashed potatoes,

Green Beans with Chestnuts

Rosemary-scented cornbread

Light as a feather cream biscuits

Jellied Cranberry Sauce

for dessert: Drunken Pecan Sweet Potato Pie and Pumpkin Pie

Happy Thanksgiving! There is much to be grateful for.

Kale and Bean Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s another rainy day soup. I just dreamed it up and made it. Luckily everyone in the family liked it on the first try. The rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano and garlic give it a lovely aroma.

I dice the kale, celery, leeks, and red bell pepper in the food processor for faster prep and cooking. Just discard the kale’s lower thick stems first.

I made this  using dried beans as well. I boiled them in chicken stock for 5 minutes, then transferred them to a crock pot and added the rest of the ingredients. I cooked it on “high” for 3-4 hours until beans and kale are tender. You can also heat the crock pot to high, then tun it to low and  let it cook  while you are at work, or overnight. This way you don’t have to worry about stirring the pot so the cheese won’t stick to the bottom! And homemade beans are so much better than canned ones!

In case there are leftovers, this soup is even better the next day, when flavors have developed even more..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

serves 8 bowls

Ingredients

½ gallon (8 cups) homemade chicken or vegetable stock Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup (plus a vegan version) (you can use boxed stock, but it won’t be as good!)

1 rind Parmesan cheese

2 bay leaves

1 Tb extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced, or 3 frozen cubes garlic

1 large leek, white and pale green parts only (you can substitute defrosted frozen leeks)

3 ribs celery

1 seeded red bell pepper

1 large carrot, chopped

¼ tsp red pepper flakes for a spicy soup. If you don’t like the heat, use just a shake.

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp fresh rosemary needles, minced

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

1 tsp dried thyme plus 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

several grinds black pepper

1 or 2 bunches kale, finely chopped. I chop the whole thing, leaves and ribs, excluding the thick ribs on the bottom. I’ve used Dinosaur and curly kale. You can substitute frozen chopped kale.

1 29-oz can Great Northern or cannellini (white kidney) beans OR 3 cups dry  beans

1 14-oz can artichoke hearts in water

2 to 3 teaspoons salt to taste (sea salt is nice).

2 Tb Parmesan cheese, freshly grated per bowl

Directions

Heat broth to boiling. If using dry beans, rinse in a sieve, then boil in broth for 5 minutes. Let beans soak in the hot broth while you prepare the herbs and vegetables. If using canned beans, pulse 1/2 of them in the food processor with a bit of broth to thicken the soup. (You can do the same with the dry beans when they are finished cooking.)

While broth is heating, chop  leek, onion, celery, and bell pepper in the food processor in batches, or chop finely by hand. Chop carrot by hand into sticks, then rounds..

onions and veggies

Pour olive oil into a frying pan and heat until it shimmers. Add chopped onion and cook on low for 10 minutes until it softens. Add garlic, leeks, celery, bell pepper and carrots to the pan. Cook until the vegetables start to soften. Stir red and black pepper, oregano, sage, and rosemary into the onions and cook a few minutes more.

chopped kale

Discard the tough bottom stems, then chop the kale finely or pulse in food processor. Stir kale. bay leaves and Parmesan rind into soup. Stir in onion mixture. Let cook 20 minutes on medium, until kale is tender, or set in crock pot for several hours.

If using dry beans, simmer for 3-4 hours until beans and kale are tender. You can also heat the crock pot to high, then tun it to low and let it cook all the day or overnight.

Chop artichoke hearts and stir into soup.  Add salt to taste. Discard Parmesan rinds and bay leaves before serving.

Raspberry vinaigrette

This vinaigrette is barely sweetened by the balsamic vinegar and a scant teaspoon of raspberry fruit spread. Excellent on Raspberry-Pecan Salad or as a marinade for Raspberry Chicken Breasts.

Place in blender: ¼ cup raspberries, ¼  cup balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp raspberry fruit spread, ¼ tsp fresh thyme leaves, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil. Blend for 15 seconds until emulsified.

Nutritional Info for 2 Tb raspberry vinaigrette:

  • Servings Per Recipe: 8
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 80.6
  • Total Fat: 8.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 3.0 mg
  • Total Carbs: 2.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
  • Protein: 0.0 g

Raspberry-Pecan Salad

This easy salad combines some of my favorite foods: fresh raspberries, pecans and feta cheese. I like to use Bulgarian sheep’s milk feta.

Fill each salad bowl with about 2 cups baby spinach or butter lettuce. Toss with about 2 Tb Raspberry vinaigrette. For each serving, add  a handful of  fresh raspberries (about 10), ¼ cup chopped pecans, and 2 Tb crumbled feta cheese.


Nutritional Info for salad only (made with spinach)

  • Servings Per Recipe: 1
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 278.2
  • Total Fat: 25.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 16.7 mg
  • Sodium: 256.7 mg
  • Total Carbs: 9.3 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 5.5 g
  • Protein: 7.3 g

The Chicken Who Flew Across the Mediterranean

This chicken gathered fresh rosemary and oregano from Southern Europe, then flew to the Middle East to pick up the yogurt and spices used to make Musakhkhan, the Palestinian chicken dish. Then it blended all with plenty of garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, fresh thyme, and onion.  It all combines to make a succulent  Mediterranean barbecued chicken.

Serves 4-5 adults

¼ cup lemon juice (fresh-squeezed is best)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup plain Middle Eastern/Greek style yogurt (I use Karoun brand)

10 cloves garlic, peeled (1/4 cup minced garlic)

1 Tb rosemary needles

2 tea thyme leaves

1 Tb oregano leaves

¼ tsp cardamom

¼ tsp allspice

¼  tsp cloves

2 Tb sumac (available at Middle Eastern grocery stores)

2 teaspoons of salt

10 grinds of black pepper

one onion, chopped

Pour  lemon juice and olive oil into blender, add yogurt, herbs and spices, and blend. (Alternatively, you can mince all the herbs and combine them with the other ingredients by hand.) Pour into marinade container and add chopped onion, mixing well. Remove skin and fat from chicken breasts in with bones intact. Make several cuts into the meat to better absorb the marinade. Leave in marinade for 4 hours or more, the longer the better. Barbecue on medium temperature for 30-40 minutes, until done. You can use this with boneless breasts as well. It is even more tender when cooked in the marinade in a frying pan.