Showing posts with label appetizers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label appetizers. Show all posts

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Almost Turkey Time

If you don't live in the U.S.of A., the coming of fall probably doesn't mean that it is time to gather up the recipes for cooking a big turkey for a family, or extended family, or family and friends dinner toward the end of November.

If you do celebrate American Thanksgiving, you probably have a raft of family traditions associated with the feast.

It might be Aunt Mabel's green bean casserole with onion rings or Uncle George's special meatball appetizer or Grandma's super sweet, marshmallow covered sweet potato casserole. With the way that tastes change over time, this might be the year that you decide to try something new and different...well, at least for one dish.

If you are the brave soul that is willing to stand up against family pressure and make a casserole that has fresh green beans and no fried onions in sight, or something with sweet potatoes that is actually savory, perhaps with some sage butter, or even a different stuffing for the turkey, you might need some suggestions for new recipes to try. I'm selfish enough that I want you to make one of the recipes I've blogged about if thats teh case...besides they are good!

There will be round ups and lists to be found around the Internet. My group of Thanksgiving ready recipes will be limited to ones I've posted here in the Land of St. Honore' at Feeding My Enthusiasms. That might make it a short list, but that makes it easier for you to scan it, check out any that look interesting to you, then pop on over to the next blog (which might be one on my likely blogs list...if you are smart).

Here goes....drumroll please.....


White Bean Dip, hits a lot of high notes - robust taste, not too filling, good-for-your-heart legume based, great with either crackers or crudites, easy to make and ...Yay!...can be made ahead and tastes even better if you do.

Caprese on a Skewer, is colorful, fun to make and fun to eat. Finding flavorful tomatoes might be a challenge, but you can use cherry tomatoes which are usually sold in pint baskets. They generally taste good. You can substitute flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley) leaves for the basil leaves. The flavor combo will be different, but the skewers are still pretty that way. You can Serve the skewers by sticking the end in a small pumpkin or you can corral a bunch of filled skewers in a tall glass, fanning them out.


A tossed green salad is always welcome, but if you want a make-ahead salad, try this Composed Orange Salad, . You can arrange the lettuce and orange slices on salad plates, stack them up in the 'fridge, then dab on the mayo, add the cherry and sprinkle on the raisins and coconut shortly before guests sit down and put them a plate at each place. The orange is refreshing and light which is a good way to start a meal that is heavy on the starches.

If the day is chilly as November often is, starting with a nice bowl of soup is warming and welcoming. Try a seasonal favorite like Two Squash Soup, rich with roasted butternut and pumpkin squashes, plus onions, sweet potato and apples. With a sour cream and diced red pepper garnish it's quite festive and flavorful.


The main event is usually a roast Turkey, golden and juicy. Turns out that I haven't blogged a turkey recipe, so I'm sending you to the experts. The Butterball turkey folks have a great helpline and website if you need a recipe or help. I usually cook mine in a brown-in-bag because it makes it difficult to over cook the bird, plus clean up is so easy.This one wasn't cooked in a brown-in bag and it is overcooked.


What is a turkey without stuffing? No nearly as good! My Mom makes the best stuffing (you knew I'd say that, right?...well, it's true) and the Stuffing, recipe I posted last year is based on her bread and corn bread stuffing. You'll need a slightly drier stuffing if it is going inside the bird than if it goes in the casserole, so add a little extra broth to the casserole baked stuffing. You can make it your own by adding favorite dried fruit, different nuts, and so on. Make plenty because people usually want seconds of this stuffing!

Good turkey benefits by the accompaniment of cranberries. There's something about the sweet-tart fruitiness that brings out the best in the bird. Cranberries also ripen in the fall, making them a fall favorite since Colonial times. If you want to break away from cranberry relish, try Elle's Wild and Brown Rice with Cranberries, for a side dish instead. It has the nutty flavors of wild and brown rice, plus apple juice soaked cranberries and a dash of orange flavor for zest.

(You can still open a can of cranberry jelly for purists).

Swiss chard is a seasonal green that is all too often forgotten makes a wonderful side dish. It is refreshing and savory and light...just right with such a rich meal. Try it fixed as Swiss Chard and Spinach with Onions, Currants and Lemon Zest, an interesting mix of greens, onions with the contrast of currants and the zip of lemon zest.


Even though the usual Thanksgiving meal has plenty of carbs without it, everyone loves freshly baked rolls. Pile the bread basket with these Refrigerator Rolls, which can be partially made ahead. They are from my other blog, Bread Baker's Dog, devoted to bread baking. Pop them in the oven when the turkey comes out. They'll bake while it's resting and being carved and you will be a star when you pass the bread basket and people get a whiff of freshly baked bread.

If you are feeling artistic and want to really impress, make the Harvest Sheaf bread, also found on Bread Baker's Dog. It is easier to make than it looks. To serve, I just sliced across the sheaf.


The last morsel of turkey has been polished off and the coffee is brewing. Now comes my favorite part, dessert. Here are three desserts that use seasonal fruits. They make a nice addition to the dessert table, which can also include a traditional pie.

The first Double Apple Bundt Cake with or without Rum Glaze, features crisp, tart apples complemented with spice in an easy to serve bundt cake with a decorative rum glaze.

The next two are a bit unusual but delicious. Try Stuffed Figs and Plum Clafouti, with the added kick of bittersweet chocolate hiding in the figs.

Pomegranate Lemon Tart with or without Spiced Poached Pears, makes use of the season's pears and is very pretty with the sweet-tart pomegranate lemon pastel tart filling and the fan of bi-colored pear slices on top.

Still need some recipe ideas? Check out the index by clicking on the set table photo at the top right corner of this blog.
Happy Thanksgiving! East well and enjoy time with family and friends. XOXOXO Elle

Sunday, October 11, 2009

This dip, made with canned cannelli beans, makes a quick and delicious appetizer for your self and family or for a gathering.

All of the ingredients except for the salt and pepper get whirled around in the food processor. I did mine a few hours before we ate so that the flavors could meld together. I served it with an assortment of veggies, some from the garden like yellow pear mini tomatoes, green and yellow zucchini, and green beans. I also included red pepper strips, jicama strips, snow peas, and mini carrots. The dip is savory and has the lilt of lemon and the bite of garlic, tempered by the mellowness of beans and olive oil. It is also one of those Mediterranean healthy foods.

White Bean Dip
from Food Network's site and Giada deLaurentiis

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper

Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, and parsley in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the bean puree to a small bowl.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Spring When It Sizzles

Unseasonable heat wave hit today and is supposed to continue for the next few days. The 'normal' temperature for mid-May around here is a high of 75 - 80. Today it was well over 90 degrees during the hottest part of the day, so that qualifys as hot. Tomorrow is slated to be at least a few degrees over 100.
That meant getting out early to water the garden and do a bit of weeding, then lots of time indoors where it was cooler, thanks to our concrete floor which retains the cool from the night before. There is an art show coming up for the watercolor class I attend, so I was matting and framing my piece (we have to choose just one). I was honored to have my piece chosen as one of four from our class on the postcard advertising the show. Careful viewers of this blog have already seen it almost finished in this post. I had to give it a title, so I chose 'Juicy' 'cuz the oranges look pretty juicy to me.

One of the dilemmas when the weather is hot is what to make for dinner. I tossed together a salad of cold leftover grilled chicken chunks, cucumber, avocado, carrots, fresh mandarin orange segments, golden raisins, sliced almonds and blue cheese bits mixed with mesclun salad mix. Sweetie enjoyed his favorite lime dressing and I opted for walnut raspberry since my favorite Organic Raspberry dressing is gone and I don't remember where I bought it. Sucks having an older brain sometimes.

If you have a toaster oven you don't have to heat up the kitchen to prepare a great appetizer for hot weather:

Smoked Salmon and Brie Toasts
serves 2-4

1/2 baguette, sliced in 1/2 inch to 1 inch slices, then lightly toasted in the toaster oven
2-4 oz ripe brie cheese
2 oz. smoked salmon (or more if you really love smoked salmon)
mizuna or herb leaf for garnish

Take the toasted baguette slices and spread about a tablespoon of brie on each slice. Place on a small cookie sheet that will fit in the toaster oven and broil in the toaster oven until brie melts.

Remove from toaster oven and immediately layer on some of the smoked salmon. Garnish with a leaf and serve at once while the cheese is melty.

Remember to share...although these are so good it's easy to eat them all yourself.