Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Waiter There is Something in My...Easter Basket

Easter is only a short while away and Johanna at The Passionate Cook invites us to blog about Easter, Easter baskets, Spring, Passover and all the other ways that we celebrate the end of winter and the coming of new life. Well, that's the theme of Waiter There is Something in My...Easter Basket, but the focus is food. My basket holds brightly colored hard cooked eggs.

In my house, it wouldn't be Easter without Easter eggs. I love the chance to play with color and the egg is such a beautiful shape. After my recent fun with red food dye, I really thought that it would be a while before I ventured into food dye territory again, but I just had to make these eggs. So, with slightly blue and green splotches of dye on my fingers, I bring you the recipe for Easter Eggs, with comments and a series of photos to help you along the way. Hope you have fun with it!

You can also make a bread that looks like colored Easter eggs...perfect for someone who doesn't like real eggs...or sweet Easter treats. Check it out HERE.
Easter Eggs

Bring to a boil in cold water as many dozens of eggs as you wish to color. Once water has come to a boil, simmer the eggs for ten minutes. Turn off heat and cool, or turn into a colander and run cold water over until the eggs are cool. My Dad used to add a little Borax, about a ½ teaspoon) to the water before boiling. I think it was to keep the eggs from cracking.

Bring a tea kettle full of water to a boil. Set out one heat proof small cup…we used custard cups…for each dye color. Place 1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar into each custard cup. Add 3-4 (or more if you are daring) drops food color to a cup for one color. Do the same for the next color in another cup. Repeat until you have different dyes in each cup. Fill custard cups half way up with boiling water.

To dye the eggs, place gently in the cup which has the color you want to dye the egg. You can also use a spoon to lower the egg into and lift the egg out of the dye. You can also use the spoon to swirl some the the dye bath on the part of the egg that sticks out of the dye, or turn the egg while it is dying for a more even color. You can dye the egg lightly in one dye, then slip it into another dye to make things like spring green, gold, or purple.

My Mom notes that my Dad used to love to do the Easter eggs, just as he loved to prepare for Christmas. Even when the children grew up, she says, he would make colored hard boiled eggs with names on them for those who would be visiting at Easter.

You can write or draw on dry eggs with crayons or plain wax right before you put them into the dye bath. The wax will resist the dye where you wrote or drew.

Store the eggs in the refrigerator in the cartons the eggs came in. Figure out (after the Easter egg hunt) how to use soooo many hard boiled eggs!

For Easter we would have an Easter egg hunt every year, either inside or out in the yard depending on the weather. When we were little, my Dad would hide them in the house late at night so we could find them first thing in the morning, sort of like coming down on Christmas morning to presents. My Dad always kept in touch with his inner child. After church and breakfast, he would hide them in the yard. Some would be easy to find, like on a car bumper, others would be well hidden. When some of us were older, we would do some of the egg hiding for him. It was always fun to see the expressions on the faces of the children as they found an egg…pure delight. When I had my own kids, I kept up with the tradition. We dyed eggs together, decorated them, at times, to within an inch of their life, and hid them for an egg hunt on Easter. If you have little ones around the house, give it a try. It’s sort of messy, so put down newspaper to catch the drips and wear aprons or old clothes, but have fun with it. You’ll never smell vinegar again without thinking ‘Easter eggs’.

Monday, March 26, 2007

So Red! How Daring!

If you see Red Velvet Cake in a number of places on blogs today don't be surprised. The Daring Bakers are at it again. After conquering, among other things, croissants that took three days and chocolate flour less cake, the original intrepid bakers are joined by a few newbies, myself included.
This collection of bakers who dare include: Quellia at All Things Edible, Mary at Alpineberry, Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice, Peabody at Culinary Concotions by Peabody, Morven at Food Art and Random Thoughts, Hester at Hester in Geneva, Brilynn at Jumbo Empanadas, Lisa at La Mia Cucina, Tanna at My Kitchen In HalfCups, Helene at Tartlette, Jen at The Canadian Baker, Breadchick at The Sour Dough, Valentina at Trembom in English, Veronica at Veronica's Test Kitchen, and Freya at Writing at the Kitchen Table. If you can, check them all out.

Instead of working from one recipe, this time we could choose the version of Red Velvet cake that suited us. There were numerous recipes to choose from. Some used shortening, some used butter or oil. A common feature was copious amounts of red food coloring. Take a look at that slice. How red is that? Very.

This cake was new to me. It's a favorite in some parts of the South in the US of A, but I grew up too far north to have tasted this one. It is a lovely light, moist cocoa cake with a good crumb. My version has extra cocoa and a bit of coffee to bring out the chocolate flavor. The red contrasts nicely with the creamy white frosting. There is a traditional frosting based on a sort of cream sauce which get mixed with confectioners sugar, and there is also a traditional frosting based on butter, cream cheese and confectioners sugar.

I chose a version of the latter which also includes some sour cream for tang. It's one passed on from mother to daughter to friend to friend. I received it from my friend Lori. It's at least 30 years old, but probably older. You could frost a paper bag with it and the results would be good, it's that yummy. With this cake it is sublime.

By tradition there should have been chopped pecans in the frosting, but I forgot to add them. There were no complaints from in in-house taste testers, so I can recommend this daring red cake to you as a fun cake to bake and to eat.

The chocolate 'lace' decorations are supposed to be whisks, forks and rolling pins to represent the Daring Bakers...whisked, not folded.

Red Velvet Cake

½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cup sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup cocoa
1 tablespoon cold strong coffee
½ to 2 oz. red food coloring (I used 1 teaspoon powdered and 1 oz. liquid)
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Prepare two 9” round cake pans by greasing and flouring the bottom and sides. Set aside.
Cream the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix cocoa, coffee and food color to make a smooth paste. Add this mixture to the egg mixture and blend well. Add the buttermilk, vanilla, cake flour and salt. Blend well. Add the baking soda and vinegar and blend gently. Pour at once into prepared pans. Smooth tops. Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 25 – 35 minutes, until center springs back when gently depressed. Remove from oven and cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around sides and turn layers out, then turn over. Frost while still warm with Cream Cheese Frosting.


½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter, cream cheese, sour cream and vanilla together until fluffy. Then mix in gradually
the powdered sugar. Start with 2 cups and add to desired texture and taste by ¼ cup at a time.
Spread between layers, on top and on sides of cake.

Decorate sides with finely chopped toasted pecans.

Note: The frosting recipe is over 30 years old, probably older. In the traditional version you add the nuts to the frosting and you can do that instead of using them on the sides, once cake is frosted.

Here are some other recipes and some Daring Baker information.

The Daring Bakers have decided not only to call themselves by that name, but the lovely Ximena of LobsterSquad designed two logos for the group, with sort of a James Bond type of theme. It is posted toward the top, at the right, on this blog.

The bakers now number 16. This month they are allowed to use their choice of recipes for Red Velvet Cake. They are transitioning to a more organized group and the recipe is still being chosen by a vote.

The following recipe seems to be the one originally suggested for use, although some variations were seen on posting day. The comments are by Peabody.

Red Velvet Cake
This is the recipe I want to use. It comes from Mrs Wilkes Boarding House in Savannah, Georgia. I know the frosting has nuts but you don't have to have those. And if you are wondering, as a woman married to a boy from the south, yes the pecans are IN the frosting, not on top...and what a bitch this baby is to frost with those in there.

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp white vinegar
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 to 3 TBSP cocoa powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
5/8 ounce bottle red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Cream the eggs, sugar, oil and vinegar.

Sift the cake flour, baking soda, and cocoa together.

Add the flour mixture to the creamed ingredients while beating. Slowly add the buttermilk. While still beating, add the vanilla and the food coloring.

Pour into three 8-inch layer pans and bake for about 25 minutes.

Press lightly;if the layers are spongy, then the cake is done.

Frost the cooled layers, assemble and frost the top and sides.

Serves 12 to 14.

Red Velvet Cake Frosting
1(8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
1 (1 pound) box confectioners sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the cream cheese and butter and melt over very low heat. Add the sugar, pecans and vanilla and mix well. If the frosting becomes too thick, add a little milk. Frost one 8-inch or 9-inch layer cake.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Fun with Anna

Last month I met Anna for the first time at La Dolce V in Sebastopol. This month we met in San Rafael, in Marin County, at Hatam Restaurant and Deli.

If you've missed checking out Anna's site, Anna's Cool Finds lately, you may not realize that she is the queen of blogged restaurant reviews for Marin County. Despite being a busy businesswoman, she finds the time to visit a wide variety of restaurants, often with her Dad as her dining companion. Many times the reviews are are for ethnic and inexpensive places, always with mouth watering photos. If you live nearby or just want to experience interesting restaurants virtually, check it out. I had fun today watching her photograph the food and enjoyed sharing the experience. Can't wait to see her review.

Today for lunch we visited Hatam's, which is a Persian restaurant in the back of a deli. The food for sale in the front of the store is so enthralling...

that it might take a few minutes to make your way to the restaurant, but when you do you'll find an intimate space with lovely chandeliers, cloth napkins and comfortable chairs. The menu has a wonderful assortment of salads, soups and appetizers to start with including the Persian version of dolmas, spiced rice wrapped in grape leaves; a lovely herb soufle called Koo-Koo which Anna had; and a refreshing tomato, onion and cucumber salad which is what I started with. Once we ordered, we were served some of the fresh feta we had seen in the deli, served with a pile of fresh mint, basket of lavosh bread and some butter. The tangy cheese and mint complemented the less assertive flatbread.

For our main dishes, Anna chose a combination plate with two kinds of kebobs, rice and a grilled tomato. I tasted the chicken kebob. The meat was moist and juicy and the spices were distinct but subtle. One of the pleasures of eating at a restaurant like this is that the spices are not one dimensional, but are a combination of many flavors authentic to the cuisine.

I had a dish that Anna said is usually made for special occasions called Fesenjoon. Lamb chunks are marinated and served in a sauce made with pomegranete juice and ground walnuts. It was tender, with a great depth of flavor, again with authentic spices making their presence known in a wonderful way. It was served on a bed of saffron rice and the saltiness of the rice went well with the slight sweetness of the fesenjoon. The gentleman who served the food, who is also apparently the owner and chef, said that everything is made from scratch and that is how it tastes. Next time I want to go with a few more people so that we can try other items on the menu and I can have tastes. Everything I tried this time was delicious.

For dessert we were served an array of Persian marzipan candies shaped like strawberries. You could taste the almonds, but there was also the floral flavor of rose water that added a nice contrast to the nuts and sugar flavors. There were also a few puff pastry palmiers which went well with the cardemom tea.

If you get a chance, do visit this delightful little restaurant. You won't be disappointed if you are looking for the finest Persian cuisine.

Hatams Restaurant & Deli
821 B Street, San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 454-8888
lunch, dinner & catering

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Eating of the Green

March 17th. It's a proud day for the Irish is it not? Since I'm half Irish, I get to really enjoy St. Patrick's Day. Corned beef and cabbage isn't my idea of the perfect food for the day. I go with the venerable potato. In this case, it's red potato with a little chopped parsley for the mandatory green. But the real eating of the green today is the asparagus. This is the perfect green food for the St. Pat's Day: Green or Irish event hosted by Kochtopf

Now I'm not going to tell you that the asparagus is native to Ireland, although for all I know it is. What I am going to tell you is a great way to prepare this quintessential spring vegetable.

Wash the spears well, then snap off the woody end. Alternately, you can peel the woody ends back to where the stem becomes tender. This will give you a bit more spear, but it's a lot more work. The snapped ends could be used, if you are so inclined, to make a asparagus broth as a base for soup. I'm afraid that I just toss mine into the compost pile.

Next give the spears a light drizzle with olive oil. I use a Meyer lemon infused olive oil, but I used to use regular EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and some garlic salt before I discovered the lemon infused stuff, so I know that will work beautifully.

Get your grill going. We now use a gas grill, but used to grill with charcoal. Thses lovely green spears cook up very quickly, so keep an eye on them. Grill them until just tender, turning once to bring the less cooked side down to the grill.

These can be enjoyed hot off the grill, or as part of a cold plate afte they ahve cooled off. They are great both ways, and, if not overcooked, are a beautiful St. Patrick's Day green.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hay Hay It's Time for Cheesecake

Even though cheesecake is one of Sweetie's favorite desserts, I only bake one about once a year.

It's not that I don't enjoy cheesecake. In fact I enjoy it too much. A piece after dinner, a piece for breakfast (yes, we each had a piece this morning), a 'sliver' with afternoon tea, another good sized piece after dinner the next night and, before you know it, I've eaten half and gained another ten pounds in two days. Well, maybe not that much, but more than a few trips to the gym will burn off.

Once a year is just enough to celebrate the beginning of spring in Northern California, to celebrate Sweetie's birthday, and, this time, to celebrate my daughter's visit. Since I bake it so infrequently, I forget the best tips for making a cheesecake that doesn't crack and is dense and creamy but not overbaked. This year I had the added pleasure of making a cheesecake as part of Hay Hay It's Donna Day, hosted by the talented Peabody, at Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.

At the market I found a special on a whole bag of small but very green key limes. I love key lime pie and wondered if I could make a key lime cheesecake. After checking out the Eagle Brand site for both the classice key lime pie and their version of lemon cheesecake, I checked out cheesecake listings in at least a dozen other cookbooks and magazines. Some used all cream cheese, some added sour cream, the Eagle Brand naturally included some sweetened condensed milk.

In the end I took bits from a number of recipes, added cinnamon to the crust and some salt to the filling (ideas not found elsewhere) and began baking. Juicing those little key limes is time consuming, but key lime juice really tastes different from regular lime juice. The finished cake or pie is also a pale yellow, not green. Use key limes if you can find them.The zest added great flavor, but could barely be seen. The actual mixing of the filling goes pretty quickly. When I added the sweetened condensed milk it really looked like a thin batter, but when I added the lime juice it started to thicken. I thought, "Maybe it will work out."

Some key tips are: to have everything at room temperature, to combine everything on low or medium speed, and to only mix things just long enough to combine. A water bath keeps the filling uncurdled and running the tip of a sharp knife around the top edge right after baking, plus cooling to room temperature before refrigerating is supposed to keep it from cracking. All the tips worked!

The suspense is pretty intense before you cut it. Will it be overcooked? Will it slump when sliced because it wasn't cooked enough or the proportions from the different recipes didn't work? It looked fine once the sides were removed,

and better with the addition of some whipped cream and key lime slices.

The kitchen gods were smiling last night because the finished slices were beautiful, creamy, and really delicious. We had guests for dinner and they finished every crumb of their serving. The breakfast slice?...even better, with a more intense key lime flavor.

Key Lime Cheesecake

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs, about 10 whole crackers
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix the cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter together until well mixed.
Rub a little butter in the bottom of a 9” spring form pan. Line the bottom with a circle cut out of baking parchment paper. Pour the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan. Spread out with clean fingers, making the layer as even as possible, with some of the mixture pushed up the sides about a half inch to an inch. Using the bottom of a flat bottomed glass, press the mixture down and press the mixture up against the sides. Sides will be uneven in height.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. When cool, wrap the whole pan, on the outside, in heavy duty foil. Turn oven temperature down to 325.

Have everything at room temperature.
1 ½ lbs cream cheese
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons grated peel of key lime zest, colored part only
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup sour cream
½ cup key lime juice (about 8-9 limes), seeds removed
4 large eggs

Using an electric mixer, on low speed, beat the cream cheese just to soften. Scrape bowl and beaters often throughout the rest of the recipe. Add the sugar in a slow stream, beating on low just until mixed. Add the flour, salt, vanilla, zest and beat on low just to mix. Add the sweetened condensed milk and sour cream. Beat on low just until mixed. With mixer running on low speed, add the lime juice in a slow stream, beating just until mixed. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each in before adding the next egg. Beat last egg in just until mixed.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Place the foil-wrapped pan into a large roasting pan. Place pans in oven and fill roasting pan with hot water until water is half way up the cheesecake pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until filling is set, but center is still a bit jiggly.

Remove roasting pan from oven carefully. Remove cheesecake pan from roaster water bath and place on wire rack. Run a sharp small knife around the sides of the pan to loosen and keep the cheesecake from cracking as it cools. Cool at room temperature. When cool, remove foil wrapping, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

To serve, remove from refrigerator. Remove the pan sides. Slide the cheesecake onto a serving plate and bring to room temperature. Garnish with whipped cream and thin lime slices. Serve thin slices of the cheesecake, using a knife which has been run under (or dipped into) hot water, then wiped dry.

This is a combination of ideas from a number of cheesecake recipes. Some things, like the cinnamon in the crust and the salt in the filling I didn’t see elsewhere, but added anyway.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Where Everybody Know Our Name

Controversy seems to be as perennial in Cotati, California as the mustard in the vineyards in the early spring. The co-owner of one of our favorite casual restaurants, Redwood Cafe' in Cotati, Mustafa Jamal, was on the front page of our regional newspaper, the Press Democrat this past Tuesday. His nickname is Moose and he also owns nearby Cafe' Salsa.
He was being interviewed the same day that the Cotati city council was voting to ban any new fast food places in Cotati. What makes this interesting is that he is not in favor of banning them.

As a long time customer I understand why he might feel that way. The Redwood Cafe' has some of the elements of a fast food place, but the personal connections that Mustafa, Michael and the staff make with their patrons prove just as appealing as the food. When I saw that Natalia of From Our Kitchen blog was hosting Food Destination #5 about places to eat where everyone knows your name, this great casual restaurant was the obvious choice.

We are regulars and were thrilled this morning to hear that one of the women who had been a regular employees for years had her first baby on Friday. We asked Jessica, another long time employee, to give her our best wishes. There is the usual amount of turnover with employees in the food business, but those who remain give hugs, or tell us about new relationships or their college classes, or ask us how our daughter is doing. The owners are there most of the time and greet even occasional customers warmly and make them feel welcome. Free internet access is a plus. You can sit for as long as you like, sipping a latte', reading your blog, or writing your book. If your bookclub or study session meets, you can move the tables around and no one minds. When it's chilly, sit by the gas fireplace and browse the encyclopaedias stacked nearby.

Good food is the main reason that people return over and over to their favorite eateries. Redwood has an eclectic mix of offerings. To begin with they have great coffee, espresso drinks and hot chocloate. Unlike many places, refills on regular or decaf coffee are free.

Redwood Café’ has a variety of lunch and dinner choices from hearty pasta entrees and lighter wraps to Mediterranean mezza plates; from Ceasar salad with blackened salmon to a vegetarian tofu melt. Although I’m not a big Mexican food eater, I love their chicken burrito full of black beans, rice, cheese and chicken. They make a killer chicken sandwich on focaccia bread enlivened with melted cheese, roasted red peppers and pesto. Things like that sandwich include soup, salad, or fries with it and the fries are really good.

I usually have the soup because the Mustafa often makes it and no matter which of the many kinds he cooks, they are always good. Sweetie especially likes the onion soup. I really enjoy the split pea and the lentil and the corn chowder. They have old favorites like BLT sandwiches and hot dogs, too. Their juice bar goodies are made to order and they have beer, wine, and sodas, plus great lemonade.

Breakfasts are not to be missed. We have Sunday breakfast regularly with two or three of our best friends. The omelets are great with lots of different choices for fillings. They come with home fried potatoes and toast or English muffin, but we usually substitute, for a small extra charge, a mixed fruit cup for the potatoes. We pretend that the fruit makes the meal really healthy. For traditionalists there are the usual eggs, bacon or sausage, potatoes and toast choice. On weekends you can also order three variations on Eggs Benedict. Their veggie potato plate is enormous and the perfect thing to eat to begin a day with lots of exercise like hiking or biking. They have excellent huevos rancheros, light and crispy waffles,

great pancakes, especially the Blubes with blueberries. Sweetie is fond of the French toast, especially as part of the weekday special which comes with eggs and bacon or sausage. I often order the oatmeal. It comes with raisins and walnuts and bananas sliced on top, plus a pitcher of light cream on the side. Not up for a full breakfast and want something small? There are bagels, coffee cakes, or you can even get a side order of their stellar bacon.

In good weather, they serve to outdoor seating both out front and on the side under the tree.

Fast food has it's time and place, but it would be terrible if Redwood Cafe' closed...where would I eat on Sunday morning? So kick back, come on down to Cotati downtown, and vote with your pocketbook to enjoy the good casual food and keep warm, friendly, local restaurants like this open.
Redwood Café Coffee House and Grill
8240 Old Redwood Highway, Cotati, CA 707-795-7868
Exit Highway 101 at the Hwy 116 north exit. Head east. Hwy 116 will end at Old Redwood Highway. Turn right, proceed one block to stop sign. Continue straight to traffic light. You are now in downtown Cotati. Continue straight. Redwood Café’ is on your left just past the center of the block. There is non-metered parking on the street.
Hours are: Sun - Wed 7:30am - 9:00pm, Thurs - Sat 7:30am - 10:00pm

Friday, March 09, 2007

Wild and Nutty

After a week of too many things to do in not enough time, fulfilling in the end, but exhausting, it was a pleasure to go into the kitchen tonight and play with knives and cutting boards and pot and pans. The fact that the dish I prepared really complemented the fresh tuna steak that Sweetie cooked is what really made it satisfying. Wild rice (not actually a true rice, but the seed of a grass native to North America) is nutty in flavor and chewy. Just the thing to go with sauteed fresh vegetables.

You can purchase packets of already cooked wild rice at Trader Joes. All they contain is wild rice and water. They are vacuum packed and shelf stable, too. Tonight the ability to just open the pouch, put it into a microwave safe dish and heat it up in the microwave meant that I had time to sautee onions and mushroom slices in some olive oil, slice a zucchini and a yellow crookneck squash into half moon slices, and cut baby carrots into bite sized chunks.

Once the onions were transluscent (after a few stirs with a wooden spoon now and then), I added some freshly ground pepper, a dash of garlic salt, and about 1/4 teaspoon of thyme. After stirring those into the onion mixture, I tossed in the squash, mixed it up with the onion mixture, and let that cook a minute, stirred, and added the carrot chunks. To that I then added 1/2 cup chicken broth, covered the pan and cooked it on very low heat 3-4 minutes until the veggies were tender but still firm. Removing the cover I tossed in the heated wild rice, stirred it all together and checked for seasoning.

Once the tuna steaks were ready (simply pan fried with lemon pepper and garlic salt...still plenty of pink in the middle, too) we plated it and had a fine Friday night dinner. The green salad that I fixed earlier complemented the tuna and rice mixture very nicely.

There is probably a recipe like this somewhere, but I just sort of made it up as I went along, adding what seemed like the right amount of squash and carrots and mushrooms. A nice opportunity to be creative after a long week.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

How I love turkey!

Turkey is one of my favorite foods. Right up there with chocolate. Roast turkey is a pretty healthy food, especially if you feed the skin to the dog, as I do. What's not so healthy is some of my favorite ways to use up leftover turkey.

Top of the list is grilled turkey sandwich, a real guilty pleasure. Even thought I make it with multi-grain and oat bread and with the fairly low fat and high protein turkey breast meat, the fact that I slather on some butter on the out side of the sandwich on both sides, and even sometimes put a little more butter inside, makes this sandwich a real indulgence. I don't even add on cheese, although that is really yum. Sometimes I'll add some tomato slices, especially if the turkey is dryish. Even with the tomatoes added, the nutritional value is suspect. They remain a favorite guilty pleasure.

A second favorite way to use up leftover turkey is in a pot pie. There are lots of veggies in this one, so it is sounder nutritionally, but that crust, be it pastry or biscuit dough, is hardly diet food. This is one of thoes dishes that taste even better the second day. These days you don't even have to wait until Thanksgiving. The frozen section of your food store usually have turkey year round. Go on, give yourself a little treat. Cook up this pot pie, or even the sandwich. Then take a brisk walk. Right.

Turkey Pot Pie
2 medium baking potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced celery, about 2 ribs
1 medium onion, diced
3 or 4 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 to 1 1/2 cups leftover turkey, diced. I use both dark and light turkey
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, cooked in the microwave for 3 minutes, then drained
1 cup biscuit mix
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Scrub the potato, cut in half, cut each half in half and slice in roughly 1/3 inch thick slices. Place potato slices in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Then turn down heat to medium-high and cook until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside.
In a dutch oven or casserole that can go on the stovetop and into the oven, heat the olive oil over mediumn-high heat. Saute' the celery, onions, mushrooms, and garlic until the onion is transluscent, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add there seasonings and stir well. Add the flour and stir, cooking for about 1/2 a minute. Add the broth all at once, stirring briskly until the contents of the pan are well mixed. Turn up the heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture bubbles and thickens.
Add the turkey, drained potato slices, and mixed vegetables. Stir. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for about 3 minutes to make sure mixture is very hot.While mixture is heating, mix the biscuit mix and milk (I use non fat, but any kind is fine) in a small bowl.
Once mixture is very hot, pour the biscuit mixture over the turkey-veggie mixture and place in the center of a pre-heated 400 degree oven. Cook 10-12 minutes, or until biscuit mixture is golden brown.
Serve from the casserole, giving each portion some of the crust and some of the turkey mixture.
Serves about 6.