Thanksgiving on Mendenhall 2014

1 Dec

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Another Thanksgiving has come and gone and it’s hard to believe that my little house on a hill is decorated for the Christmas holidays. Our 6th annual Thanksgiving celebration included my great friend Margaret and her parents, Sally and Ed. We combined family traditions – bringing together the Thompson family anti-turkey-rib-roast with a Massey Creek Farm Heritage turkey from the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market.

We started the (very cold) evening in my backyard with a fire pit, a crate of NC oysters and bowl of very special Florida stone crabs. And, lots of butter and bourbon. I’m hesitant to mention the claimed “delicacy” of the baby crab surprise inside the oysters – it was something I couldn’t stomach but was a hit with the Winslow eaters.

In addition to turkey and beef, we had my favorite brussel sprouts, Margaret’s signature collard greens and Sally’s sweet and tart cranberry relish. My mom, the dessert queen, prepared a very unique Bonet which mocked a caramel flan with a rich chocolate flavor.

It was a Thanksgiving rich friends and tradition, both new and old. I hope you had a wonderful holiday, too. I look forward to sharing a couple recipes this week!

Thanksgiving on Mendenhall 2014 Menu

  • NC Oysters and Florida Stone Crabs
  • Tapenade Crusted Standing Rib Roast
  • Heritage Turkey from Massey Creek Farm
  • Savory Mushroom and Gruyere Cheese Bread Pudding
  • Margaret’s Famous Greens
  • Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Pecans
  • Cranberry Relish
  • Chocolate Bonet

 

 

Brussel Sprout Thanksgiving

26 Nov

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It’s almost Thanksgiving! My folks are already in town doing shopping and advance preparations for tomorrow’s cooking and feasting. This year, we are excited to welcome my friend Margaret’s family over for our celebration on Mendenhall. Merging of traditions is always a fun time – especially, when mixed with North Carolina oysters, Florida stone crabs and a bourbon cocktail. I can’t wait to report with recipes, photos and stories.

Now to brussel sprouts. There is no doubt that both kale and brussel sprouts have been at center stage on Mendenhall this year. I love their hearty nature and I’ve recently discovered their perfection in almost all forms – cooked and raw. I’m looking forward to preparing my favorite Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon tomorrow. They are now famous too – featured in this week’s Triad City Beat! Check out the article today on local foodie’s favorite Thanksgiving sides. And, if you’re interested in the recipe – check it out here.

Now, back to my love of kale. Lately, I’ve been making an extremely delicious and healthy salad with raw kale and raw brussel sprouts. I found the recipe on Just a Taste.  It’s crunchy, has a wonderful dressing of lemon and shallots and will shock anyone with it’s deliciousness. If you’re looking for a last minute Thanksgiving recipe – this might be it. Or, you could commit to only eating this salad the day-after-turkey-day for an appropriate cleanse.

Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Lemon Dressing, Just a Taste

1 Tablespoon minced shallots
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
1/4 cup olive oil

4 cups finely shredded Lacinato kale (loosely packed)
4 cups finely shredded Brussels sprouts (loosely packed)
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots, mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest and honey. Stream in the olive oil while whisking continuously until well combined. Season the dressing with salt and pepper to taste. (You can add more lemon juice or agave nectar to adjust the acidity or sweetness to your personal taste.)

In a large bowl, toss together the shredded kale, shredded Brussels sprouts and toasted almonds. Add as much dressing as desired, tossing to combine, then add the cheese and toss. Serve immediately

Belgian Beef Stew

19 Nov

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Just when you think you have no time to blog, you find yourself in a jury duty waiting room with an ipad! While practicing this civic duty, I bring you a delicious recipe for Belgian Beef Stew with Carrots and Mushrooms.

This recipe is adapted from a Carbonnade Flemish Beef and Beer Stew from Saveur Magazine. It’s similar in nature to a French Beef Stew – just replace the red wine with a Belgian Ale! I found this recipe very sweet with the addition of dark brown sugar but it will also depend on what beer you select.

I added carrots and mushrooms to stew for a little more substance. You could serve this stew with egg noodles, potatoes or bread but veggies will do the trick too.

Im adding this recipe to my winter stand by recipes. Check it out!

Belgian Beef Stew, adapted from Saveur Magazine

2 lb. beef chuck, cut into 2″ x ½″-thick slices
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup flour
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 slices bacon, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
4 large carrots, cut into one inch pieces
2 cups Belgian-style ale, like Ommegang Abbey Ale
1 cup beef stock
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 sprigs thyme
3 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs tarragon
1 bay leaf
2 pints, mushrooms, halved

Season beef with salt and pepper in a bowl; add flour and toss to coat. Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add beef; cook, turning, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; set aside. Add bacon; cook until its fat renders, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, carrots and onions; cook until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Add half the beer; cook, scraping bottom of pot, until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Return beef to pot with remaining beer, stock, sugar, vinegar, thyme, parsley, tarragon, bay leaf, and salt and pepper; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until beef is tender, about 1 ½ hours.

Befor serving, roast mushrooms (with a touch of olive oil, salt and papper) on a cookie sheet at 425 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes. Mushrooms should be tender and have some nice color. Stir mushrooms into the stew before serving.

Brrr It’s Cold Out There – Must Have Warm Brie

18 Nov

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Life has been so hectic lately that the chilliness of Fall has totally snuck up on me. This weekend, I walked out the backdoor of my house to find a carpet of pecan tree leaves covering my garden. And I spent Sunday searching for last year’s sweaters and coats.

The calmness of the Thanksgiving holiday is something that I’m looking forward to. A couple quiet days spent lounging by the fireplace with family and pets, wondering when it’s close enough to five o’clock to start cocktail hour. Some wine, a warm brie, seasonal apples and crackers are the perfect effortless snack for these occasions.

I warm brie for just a few minutes (10 at most) in a 350 degree oven. If honey and nuts are in your pantry, they are a nice sticky addition. Add your favorite crackers and crisp apples for the best edible cheese travelers.

I’m looking forward to reporting back from a relaxing and fun Thanksgiving.

 

Scallops Gratin

10 Nov

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It’s become a weekly ritual that my very busy group of friends gathers in my kitchen at 7pm on Friday evenings with groceries and multiple bottles of wine. There is always an equal ratio of wine to whining plus a good amount of laugher and casual collaborative cooking. We started calling this suppers “family dinners” because they are so easy and laid back that it’s like being at home with family. No dress code, anything goes and all conversations stay in “the vault.” It’s my sanity at the end of crazy weeks in the office and I’m so grateful to have likeminded friends seeking the easy nights on Mendenhall.

This past Friday we prepared a super simple scallop gratin, a green salad with almonds and dried currants, crusty bread and lots of good red wine. The scallop recipe is an adjustment from Ina Garten’s Bay Scallop Gratin. I skipped the Pernod and white wine because I like to cut corners and I used Sea Scallops because I prefer the flavor. Speaking of flavor, I would reduce the amount of garlic if you don’t prefer a very strong  garlic flavor (super intense, Ina!).

I love this recipe because it can be prepared the night before and just baked quickly before friends arrive. It gives just enough time to pop up a bottle of wine and start a fire.

Is it Friday yet?

Scallop Gratin 

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 large garlic cloves, minced (or fewer)
2 medium shallots, minced
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma, minced
4 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 cup panko
2 pound fresh sea scallops
Lemon, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place 6 (6-inch round) gratin dishes on a sheet pan.

To make the topping, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the garlic, shallot, prosciutto, parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and mix until combined. With the mixer still on low, add the olive oil. Fold the panko in with a rubber spatula and set aside.

Preheat the broiler, if it’s separate from your oven.

Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and distribute them among the 3 dishes. Spoon the garlic butter evenly over the top of the scallops. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the topping is golden and sizzling and the scallops are barely done. If you want the top crustier, place the dishes under the broiler for 2 minutes, until browned. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of chopped parsley and serve immediately with crusty French bread.

Spicy Brisket Chili

9 Nov

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My fireplace lit up for the first time on Halloween night. I love enjoying Fall and Winter meals by the fire. And, chili was a great dish to kick off the season.

Every year I make a new chili recipe on Halloween. This year, I went with Brisket Chili from an Ina Garten recipe. My only change to the recipe would be to season the meat with salt and pepper when browning. This is a super hearty recipe that is perfect with good cheese, scallions, and sour cream on top. Add this one to your list!

Ina’s Brisket Chili

5 pounds beef brisket, cut in 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
6 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, crushed
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 green peppers, seeded and diced
1 bay leaf
6 cups tomatoes, chopped with their liquid
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup strong coffee
2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans
2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves

Pat the brisket cubes dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a very large heavy-bottomed pot and quickly brown the meat, in batches, on all sides. Transfer the brisket to a separate bowl and set aside. Saute the onion and garlic in the same oil over medium heat until limp, but not brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, pepper flakes, cayenne pepper and cumin and saute for 1 minute. Add the green peppers, bay leaf, tomatoes with their juice, the reserved meat, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and season with salt, to taste. Add the coffee, cover the pot and simmer for 1 more hour.

Add the kidney beans and basil, and warm through. Transfer the chili to a large serving bowl and serve with sour cream, grated Cheddar, diced tomato, tortilla chips and guacamole.

A viewer, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe and therefore, we cannot make representation as to the results.

 

 

Halloween Deviled Eggs

4 Nov

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Ive vie decided that deviled eggs are for for any season and any party. While one used to think they were only fitting for summer picnics, I’ve seen them dressed up for winter in caviar or truffles or perfectly decorated as tiny pumpkins with a little extra paprika for Halloween. This weekend they were a perfect starter before friends came over for Halloween chili by the fire.

We had too few trick or treaters this year which was a total bummer. But a little scotch punch helped forgot the angst. I’ll post the recipes for chili and scotch punch this week.

How do you dress up your deviled eggs?

A weekend in Austin

27 Oct

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I’m in route back to North Carolina after a wonderful weekend full of adventure and love in Austin, Texas. Many members of my family and childhood friends traveled from coasts and mountains to meet up and celebrate the nuptials of my cousin Callie and partner Eli. Eli has been considered a part of the Thompson family for many of years but the opportunity to celebrate their love and commitment was a special day that we’ve all have been looking forward to. The wedding was a perfect reflection of their style, humor, artistic nature and family traditions combined. I’m so glad I was able to share the day with them.

The weekend also provided time to catch up with childhood friends, celebrate my grandfather’s belated 90th birthday and explore Austin! Of course, it was a weekend of much eating – Torchy’s Taco Truck, Salt Lick BBQ, Jester King Brewery, brunch at Lamberts, an incredible wedding dinner from East Side King and a final most amazing Thai dinner at Sway. I’d recommend all of them if you visit. And, of course I have a list of places I’d love to try next time.

We all went crazy for the brussel sprouts from East Side King at the wedding. They were packed with flavor, herbs and spicy jalapeños. I was lucky enough to find the recipe online (see below) and I can’t wait to attempt to recreate them at home.

Fried Brussels Sprouts (East Side King)

1 cup sweet chili sauce, preferably Mae Ploy brand
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
4 Thai chiles, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound brussels sprouts, quartered
1/2 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
1 large jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
Salt
1/8 cup torn fresh mint leaves
1/8 cup torn fresh cilantro leaves
1/8 cup torn fresh basil leaves

Fried Brussels Sprouts. Photo (c) Angie Mosier
1. Place the chili sauce, vinegar, garlic, and Thai chiles in a small mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the brussels sprouts and cook them until the cores of the sprouts are approaching golden brown and the edges are caramelized, about 1 1/2 minutes.

3. Toss the red and green cabbage, alfalfa sprouts, onion, and jalapeño in a large mixing bowl. Add the brussels sprouts and the chili sauce mixture. Season with salt to taste and garnish with the mint, cilantro, and basil.

Halloween Chili Ideas

23 Oct

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My favorite tree in Westerwood is at it’s most glamorous right now. It is bright orange and glowing in the sunlight and loosing leaves daily. Winston and I love taking short trips over to stand under the tree and gaze at the orange filtered light. It’s also a reminder of Halloween around the corner. Every year, I make a big pot of chili and invite friends to join me on my front porch for bourbon cocktails and bowls of goodness. This year I’m planning on making a beef brisket chili and I look forward to reporting back. In the meantime, here are a variety of chili recipes if you’re looking to get into the swing of Fall and Halloween!

 

Pear Pulled Pork with Currant and Caper Cauliflower Slaw

20 Oct

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It’s a joke between my friends that ever since my friend Jessica moved away, we’ve been eating a lot of pork. It’s true – we’ve saved up a lot of pork recipes while entertaining and cooking with our kosher friend. Now that she’s gone, we send tipsy texts and devour pork noodle soups and slow roasted pork shoulder. Kidding aside, it’s the perfect time of year for slow cooking anything  and this pear pulled pork is perfect on it’s own or with a tangy cauliflower slaw on a warm roll. This is pretty fancy for a tailgate but would impress plenty of friends at any gathering.

We enjoyed this on Friday night while sipping pear & ginger cocktails on the front porch.

This post is sponsored by the North Carolina Pork Council. 

Pear Pulled Pork

  • 7 lb pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons, kosher salt
  • 1yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 pear chopped
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 3 chipolte peppers
  • 1 tablespoon, each, garlic powder, corriander, cumin, fennel, smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Around 8pm (the night before), put the pork shoulder into a dutch oven. Season generously with salt. Add a chopped onion, a chopped pear and sliced orange. Top with brown sugar and spices. Cook overnight – until about 6am-ish at 225 degrees. This is at your own risk – trust your oven to sleep with it on over night! But, it’s the most simple way I’ve found to cook a whole pork shoulder.

The next day, chop or shred the pork. Reduce the liquid for a sauce – I also like to add some apple cider vinegar to the sauce (if you’re an Eastern BBQ lover).

Cauliflower Slaw from the Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds
Juice of half a lemon (about 1 tablespoon), plus more to taste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt, then more to taste
3 tablespoons (30 grams) dried currants
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying
2 tablespoons (about 25 grams) brined or salt-packed capers
oil for frying
1 small, compact-looking head of cauliflower (about 1 1/4 pounds)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced (use green and white parts)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional, mostly for color)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread almonds on a tray and toast them until they’re a deep golden color, tossing them once or twice to ensure even cooking. This will take 10 to 14 minutes. Set aside to cool.**

Meanwhile, place lemon juice, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Add currants; set aside and let them soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

If using brined capers, drain and spread them on paper towels until most of their moisture has wicked out, about 5 minutes. If using salt-packed capers, soak them in water for 10 minutes to remove the saltiness, then drain, rinse and pat dry on paper towels. Pour a 1/2-inch of olive oil or another oil that you prefer to fry in in a small skillet or saucepan. Heat it over medium-high. When hot enough that a droplet of water added to the oil hisses, carefully add the capers and step back — they’re going to sputter a bit for the first 10 seconds. Once it’s safe to get closer, give them a stir. Depending on how dry they were, it can take 1 to 2 minutes for them to get lightly golden at the edges and then crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.

Trim cauliflower leaves and cut head into quarters. Using an adjustable-blade slicer (this is mine; it takes up very little room) to cut cauliflower, stem and florets, into 1/4-inch slices. Add to a large bowl.

Scoop currants from vinegar mixture with a slotted spoon and add to bowl with cauliflower, along with almonds, capers, scallions and parsley. Slowly whisk 5 tablespoons olive oil into remaining vinegar mixture in a thin stream. Add several turns of freshly ground black pepper. Pour over cauliflower and other ingredients and turn gently to coat all pieces. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon juice, salt or pepper to taste. Dig in!

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