Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What to Eat the Week After Thanksgiving

The problem with Thanksgiving this year was not overeating on the big day. I am usually able to eat moderately during the Thanksgiving meal, and this year, my sister-in-law made efforts to include delicious vegetable dishes that didn't break the calorie bank. And...no mashed potatoes. Rather, it was almost an entire week of parties and celebrations due to the visit of healthier son home from college for the first time as well as visits from other beloved out of town guests.

For his first night home, dinner was these delicious Hungarian meatballs, which I had made ahead so that I could have dinner ready easily after returning from the airport. Wednesday night found us taking meat boy to a steak house, where though we were somewhat careful in our ordering (I had a green salad with vinaigrette, no creamed spinach and baked instead of mashed potato), I did eat red meat for a second day in a row. For turkey day, we limited ourselves to a later breakfast in light of the earlier and bigger dinner, and did the same on Friday when we had a large buffet dinner at our house (see last post!). Saturday lunch was a crowd for dim sum.

Now that things have quieted down and it's just the three of us, we are craving some lighter, vegetarian meals. On Monday I made this kale pesto/pasta dish using whole wheat fusilli, and though made with kale, it went over quite well with the kale kvetches. Tuesday I returned to what has become a new staple, the curried roasted cauliflower I wrote about a few weeks ago. Last night, I used our smoked turkey leftovers in this Pozole using hominy. With the rest of the big pot of hominy, I plan to make this tortilla soup.

I highly recommend this kale pesto. It sounds so weird, but is a great way to incorporate some kale into your dinner. It works well for lunch the next day, but the pesto itself doesn't hold for too long so use it quickly! In this dish, you might not mind the whole wheat pasta either.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

As in the recent past, I am not hosting Thanksgiving dinner. I will be a very happy guest at my brother and sister-in-law's home, bringing only the stuffing (changed up a little bit of course!). However, I do host a large gaggle of my extended family on Friday afternoon for a more casual buffet. In the past, I've often made my butternut squash lasagna, which is a lightened up version of a Bon Appetit recipe that calls for a ridiculous amount of cheese. My version is still rich and delicous, but doesn't quite pack the same high fat punch. The last time I made it, I used sheets of fresh spinach pasta which was both delicious and attractive.

This year I've ordered a ham and a smoked turkey breast from Edwards of Virginia. Ham is always a fun and easy buffet option (and I get a bone for soup!) for the non-kosher and the smoked turkey, though repetitive, provides me with the turkey leftovers I otherwise wouldn't have. My plan is to provide pretty heavy hors d'oeuvres and then the turkey and ham with an assortment of condiments and light sides. I'll flesh that out with a large salad garnished with persimmon and pomegranate seeds and rolls and call it dinner. As a nod to the large number of kids in attendance, I'll also make this "beefaroni" type casserole, though I'll make tons as this tends to attract adults as well.

I've already made two cranberry dishes: a simple cardamom infused sauce and a more complex gingered cranberry fig chutney. I also cooked down this Tuscan onion confit for several hours until it was beautifully caramelized, and made a batch of this tapenade. On Friday morning I'll roast off a couple of butternut sqash and some parsnips for this delicious sounding puree.

Dessert will be simple after the two day eating frenzy. Vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce and a cranberry cake from a Dorie Greenspan recipe. If I'm feeling very ambitious, I'll also do some seasonal biscotti and cranberry oat squares.

If you need more side dish ideas, I encourage you to consult food52.com which has a wealth of great ideas. In addition, check out my comfort mash and fall farro salad for a slightly healthier bent.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

I've been truly addicted to food52 lately, and testing many more recipes from that site than creating my own (though I rarely leave any recipe alone!), but here's one more "share." I thought I've roasted cauliflower to death, but this dish really caught my eye and proved to be a popular one with my tasters. I tested this for food52 several weeks ago during the contest for "your best cauliflower." This one, as well as one of mine, were selected as Editors' Picks, which means something but I'm not sure what. I guess it's like getting Honorable Mention.

If you like the flavor of curry, and have a decent powdered blend or a recipe to make one, I highly recommend you try this out soon! It is an easy, easy, recipe to prep - just cut up the cauliflower, open a can of chick peas, cut an onion and toss it all in a curry vinaigrette. Then just pour yourself a glass of wine and relax while your oven does the rest, roasting until the cauliflower mellows and starts to brown and the chickpeas get crispy and delicious. OK, maybe stir it up once or twice. It can be a vegetarian dinner for 3 or so with just some rice alongside, or can be a side dish for four with some protein, maybe shrimp or salmon roasted at the same time.

I cut the oil and vinegar back by half but kept the amounts for the spices the same. After tossing the veggies with the vinaigrette and arranging them on the baking sheet, I then added about one more tablespoon of olive oil to the bowl in which I made the vinaigrette to get out the rest of the spices stuck to the bowl, and then drizzled that over top of the cauliflower. I also set my oven at 425 instead of the 400 degrees specified.