Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Post Turkey Blahs

It was late on Sunday afternoon, and my friend T had just gotten her last child back to where she needed to be after Thanksgiving when she called.

"What are you doing?"
"I'm just deciding what to cook for dinner."
"So, what are you cooking?"
"Aren't you going to invite us for dinner?"
"You don't need an invitation."

And so it goes.

After a little back and forth, we decided that  since T had all of the side dishes from Thanksgiving to accompany the chicken, John and I would go to their house with the main dish in tow.  I prepared Ina Garten's Lemon Chicken Breasts, instructed T to have the oven heated to 400 degrees, grabbed a bottle of wine, and off we went.

While the Martinis were being shaken, the chicken went into the oven, and T heated up the Apple Butternut Squash Soup.  Delicious.

What a nice way to end the holiday weekend.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dinner Tonight

Whenever I see thin sliced boneless shell steaks in the market, I am sure to pick them up.  It takes only four or so thin slices to make a great meal.

One of my favorite dinners in based on Marcella Hazan's recipe for Thin Pan-Broiled Steaks with Tomatoes and Olives.
Thin slices of beef are pounded to 1/4" thick.  Then slowly saute a small sliced onion in olive oil.  When it wilts, add some chopped garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is soft.  Then add about 2/3 cup canned tomatoes, roughly chopped, some black olives, oregano, salt and pepper.  Bring to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until the oil separates from the tomatoes. Set aside on a low simmer.
Heat a large saute pan until it is smoking hot; quickly grease the bottom with an oil-soaked paper towel. Add the beef slices, brown on both sides, adding salt and pepper.  Do not overcook.  Add the simmering sauce to the saute pan, turning meat quickly and basting with sauce.

All that is left to do is serve while hot.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


First comes the menu.  Easy because each time L and I try to change an item on the Thanksgiving menu we are met with cries of shock and disbelief. So it goes.

Next comes my master list which shows all the dishes being served and the ingredients needed for each.  Check.  Recipes are gathered.  Check.  Then an inventory of what ingredients are in the pantry, and the shopping list is made.  Check.  Grocery store.  Check.

And the cooking begins.  Cheddar cheese crackers to have with a glass of prosecco before dinner; cranberry sauce; corn muffins; the base for the mushroom soup and a ridiculously easy and delicious do-ahead gravy--really!
Tomorrow I will make my family's stuffing with sausage, raisins, pine nuts, parsley and Pecorino Romano cheese.   I'll defrost the pie and crostata doughs I made last week and set into the freezer; the streusel for the crostata; and the pumpkin pie.  There is the table to set and the glasses to polish.  And all the while L will be making all the side dishes that star at this meal.

All there is to do on Thanksgiving Day is to make the crostata, truss and roast the turkey, add the cream and heat up the soup, and make room in the oven for the side dishes. Whew! 

Is all this worth it?  You bet.  We have a lot to be thankful for.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November Sky

A bright, crisp November morning.  White trails left by travelers in the sky.  I think of journeys to come.