Monthly Archives: November 2016

Thanksgiving Prep Kit

November 20, 2016

It’s that time of year again friends.  Thanksgiving!!!  I love Thanksgiving.  So much yummy food.  I am already dreaming of leftovers!  So I am hosting Thanksgiving again this year.  What are you doing?  Where are you going?  What are you making?  I wanna know!!!

Here is what I am making:

  • Roast turkey
  • Rosemary, thyme, apple, walnut and chicken liver stuffing
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts
  • Candied sweet potatoes
  • Homemade gravy
  • Orange-cranberry sauce

I like to keep the menu traditional and simple.  Even though it still takes days of planning and hours to cook.

How do you time all of this preparation?

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I pick up the turkey I pre-ordered.  I am very specific about the size.

One year, I ordered my standard 12-15lbs turkey and the butcher gave me a 28lbs bird.  I was mortified.  Apparently the farmer the butcher got his turkeys from had larger birds than expected.  I cried and cried.  I thought Thanksgiving was ruined.  There was no way this turkey was going to fit in my oven!  I was so distraught the butcher offered to come over and cook the turkey for me.  They were going to spatchcock the bird.  I was so upset!  Who presents a spatchcocked bird on Thanksgiving???  True story.

Anyway,  on Tuesday I prepare the brine and when it cools I keep it in the fridge until I am ready to brine the bird.  Here is a link to my favorite brine.

Also on Tuesday, I bake my bread for the stuffing.

On Wednesday, I make the orange cranberry sauce in advance. This keeps easily in the fridge. Here is my favorite recipe along with what to do with left over cranberry sauce.

Wednesday is also a good day to prep all the onion, celery, walnuts and herbs that I will need for the stuffing. That way, come Thursday I just need to sautée it all up and assemble the stuffing/dressing.

Wednesday night, before bed, I place the turkey in the brine.  I brine the turkey for about 8-10 hours and rinse it well the next morning.

Thursday morning, while the turkey is roasting, I prepare the rest of the vegetable.  I peel the potatoes for the mash, keeping them in cold water until I am ready to boil them.  I also peel the sweet potatoes and trim the Brussels sprouts.

I have enough spare room in my oven to make the candied sweet potatoes and then the dressing.  I warm them up again while the turkey is resting.  Also while the turkey is resting, I can roast the Brussels sprouts in the oven, while I make the gravy.

And that’s that!  The next day, I dream of left overs.  Here is what I do with them.

So are you panicking yet?  No need.  Here are some other links I like to help you along this coming Thanksgiving:

1.  New York Times tells us how to roast the perfect Turkey.

2.  Marilyn Monroe had a stuffing recipe!

3.  Melissa Clark talks gravy.

4.  How about some kick in your cranberry sauce?

5.  Mark Bittman’s Brussels sprouts with garlic!

6.  How about a million ways to make sweet potatoes?

Finally, I love this article about all the different Thanksgiving traditions in this melting pot called America.

Good luck and enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!



November 16, 2016

It’s #linklove_wednesday.  Here are my favorite links this week, Wednesday, November 16, 2016:

1.  I like reading, do you?

2.  We all need better sleep.

3.  Leonard.  I’m just going to put this here.

4.  I love this dessert.

5.  Are you a stuffing or a dressing person?

6.  Listen to Gastropod about the healing power of honey.

7.  I started watching this the other day.  Wow.

8.  I love a fall risotto.

9.  I looooove pumpkin cheesecake more.

Holy Cow!  108 is a mystical number, and a  beef stroganoff for champions.

November 5, 2016

The Cubs have won the World Series.  Let that sink in a little.  

After 108 years, the Chicago Cubs are World Series champs and what a series it was.  Hemingway couldn’t have written such a dramatic turn of events.  After a 3-1 deficit, the Cubs managed to come back and tie the series.  There would be a Game 7 after all.  We could believe again.

Right at the start of Game 7 their momentum was strong.  We hit a home run in the first inning, and suddenly we were leading 6-3.  Until the 8th inning that is, and then the drama started.  

Somehow, Cleveland managed to tie the game and the heart of every Cub’s fan from Chicago to Belize started to sink into the abyss.  They went from somehow hoping and believing that this was locked in to now seeing it all slip away from their hands. How could this happen?  The curse, that dreaded curse.  That stupid goat!

By the end of the 9th inning, the Cubs and Cleveland were tied.  This game was going to go extra innings.  My worst nightmare.  And then it happened.  The rain.  Because the game going to extra innings wasn’t torture enough, we had to wait to see if our hearts would forever be broken because of a rain delay.  Stupid rain!

Tears of Cubs fans started to pour down from the heavens.

Or was it divine intervention?  You know they say 108 is a mystical number in the Dharmic faiths.  Perhaps God was giving the Cubs a “time out”.  Perhaps even God had enough.  Maybe it was the break our beloved Cubs needed to collect themselves and pull it together?  A cosmic “talkin’ to” is what they needed.

At this point, I was preparing for the worst.  I wasn’t going to be mad.  I was going to be sad to be sure, but I would be proud of them.  If they lost, they lost giving it their all.  They didn’t give it away, or make it easy.  They fought tooth and nail and well…if it wasn’t in the cards, then it wasn’t.  But I decided they had played their hearts out and I was already very proud of them.

Well, it turns out the rain washed away any doubts.  It washed away the curse and all the heartaches and sorrows of the past.  Forever gone.  The Cubs scored 2 more runs and won the World Series 8-7.  They did it.  Every Cubs fan around the world breathed a collective sigh of disbelief and then cheered.  And we all cried the happiest tears of joy ever.

Everyone has a story related to the Cubs.  For instance this one:

You all know about a Greek old man named Bill Sianis and his goat and how he supposedly cursed the Cubs.  But do you know about a Greek old man named Emmanuel and how he could have possibly turned that curse around simply by switching his hat?  Well, Emmanuel, my dad, is that Greek old man.  And for very many years he wore a Sox hat.  Not because he was a fan.  He didn’t even like baseball.  I think someone gave it to him and he just just wore it.  Well, enter my husband, Jeff.  The biggest Cubs fan on planet earth.  Jeff couldn’t tolerate this any longer.  So this year, he ordered my father a Cubs hat of his very own and low and behold, the Cubs won the World Series.  Coincidence?  True story.

Speaking of my husband, some of his happiest memories as a kid were watching the Cubs on WGN with his grandmother Nancy while she ironed.  His grandmother Nancy was a typical housewife of that era, in the style of The Joy of Cooking and Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  She often cooked Beef Stroganoff.

So in honor of grandma Nancy, and her beloved World Champion Cubs I am making this deconstructed version of beef stroganoff.

Deconstructed Beef Stroganoff (inspired by grandma Nancy and adapted from Jamie Oliver)

Serves 2-3

3/4 lb filet mignon

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp lemon rind

1/2 small jar of cornichons (gherkin pickles)

2-3 shallots thinly sliced

1 cup parsley leaves chopped

2 tbsp parsley stems finely minced

1 cup rice

5 oz spinach

12 oz creaming mushrooms

1 clove garlic

1 cup cream

1.5 tbsp brandy

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 stick butter

salt pepper

Start by seasoning your filet mignon with salt, pepper, paprika and lemon rind.  Set aside.

Finely slice the cornichons and shallots and place in a bowl.  Add the minced parsley stems and chopped parsley leaves, a little salt and 1/2 the jar of pickle juice.  Set aside, stirring occasionally.

Next wash your spinach and slice your mushrooms.  Sautée the spinach in a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In the same pan, add 2 tbsp butter and sautéed the mushrooms until golden brown.  While you are sautéeing mushrooms, start boiling your rice which should take about 12 minutes.

At the same time as your mushrooms are sautéeing and rice is boiling you can begin to grill your filet mignon to your liking.

When the rice is done cooking, add 2 tablespoons of butter to coat and set aside.  When filet is finished put on a plate and cover with foil.

When all the pieces are ready, the last thing you want to make is the sauce.  When you remove the mushrooms from the pan, add a cup of cream to the pan and 2 tablespoons brandy, salt and pepper and bring to a boil until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

To assemble the dish, put some of the wilted spinach on the buttom of your plate and top with 1 cup of rice.  Next, top the rice with slices of filet mignon, 1/2 the cooked mushrooms and 2-3 heaping tablespoons of the pickle mixture.  Next top generously with the brandy cream sauce.

Enjoy!  Yeah Cubs!

-Kallie =)


November 2, 2016

Here are my favorite links this week, Wednesday, November 2, 2016:

1.  Apple picking, you know you’ve done it before…but why?

2.  Everything you ever wanted to know about salmon.

3.  I love this article about sourdough starters.

4.  For you Thanksgiving overachievers.

5.  Bicycles…from memory. LOL

6.  Virtual ABBA? What? What?

7.  I’m on a squash kick.

8.  Well this is just nuts.

9.  Everything you wanted to know about voting. On Tuesdays. In November.