Best way to handle those turkey leftovers? There are lots of ideas on the internet, like Spicy Turkey Posole from Chef Tim Love (scroll down for the recipe), as well as a few from our archives. But I also love a good old fashioned turkey sandwich, and this recently discovered condiment is a perfect pairing. Charles Mayes, founder of Cafe Josie, sold his restaurant to Brandon Fuller about a year ago. Shortly after the sale, Mayes started bottling this aioli which he developed for the restaurant years ago. He has also come out with a Garlic Aioli, as well as grilling sauces and vinaigrettes. Chef Mayes was in Central Market last week sampling the Chipotle Aioli and told me about it's versatility. It's great with turkey (poultry in general), pork, beef, and seafood, which I learned when I served it with crab cakes. It also works as a dip with veggies and with salads as a dressing. It is well balanced, not spicy hot, but has just the precise amount of zing to make it interesting.
This year I am keeping my wine selections simple for the Thanksgiving Day meal. Mumm Napa Brut sparkling wine to accompany light appetizers (and perhaps to serve with dessert if any is left) and two choices to go with the turkey: an Italian Cortese and an Oregon Pinot Noir. All found at Central Market. If you want to make a signature drink during the cocktail hour pre or post meal, choices abound, but my favorite is the Clementine-Cranberry Sparkler from Whole Foods featured a few weeks ago.
If you are interested in learning more about holiday wine ideas (and see what I drank last year), take a look at this. My next post happens on Friday. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the time with family and friends.
I rarely go to happy hour, but my book club suggested it for our recent book discussion of The Vacationers by Emma Straub. I chose the Spanish restaurant, Barlata, primarily because the book takes place on the island of Majorca off the coast of Spain, but also because it had been a while since I had visited. A word of note: the happy hour only takes place in the bar area, so be aware that the seating is backless bar stools, not the cushy booths in the restaurant section. We started off with the house red which was $5 a glass. The 2012 Bielsa Garnacha was earthy, dry, yet smooth. There were five in our party and we wondered (after the first round) if the best value was by the glass or by the bottle during happy hour. Our very patient and sweet server confirmed that in this case by the glass was the more economic option, but a few minutes later she brought out a bottle of the house and decided to give it to us for the same price as the per glass happy hour cost. We ordered a large selection of appetizers which were each small in size, but were, for the most part, very shareable amongst a small group. We had many favorites, but the hands down winner for me was the Braised Oxtail served with garlic mashed potatoes and red wine sauce. I remember having this before; it is comfort food taken to the highest level. Creamy, smooth and fragrant potatoes layered under the tender meat that was served with at complex sauce that binds it all together. We also loved the Shrimp and Octopus Ceviche (I think we ordered that one twice), the tapenade (which came with the complimentary bread) was perfect (not to salty or overpowering), and the Chorizo Rioja style with garlic mashed potatoes was another hit. Luckily we saved room for dessert. We found the standouts were from the ice cream selection and ordered two. Dark Chocolate with marcona almonds, olive oil and sea salt was rich and smooth, with an ample butterfat roundness complimented by the almonds and salt. The other was Saffron (spelled with a "c") candied orange and pimenton. A most unusual, sweet and exotic flavor due to the highly prized saffron. Muy delicioso! Happy hour at Barlata happens Sunday-Thursday 5:00-7:00 p.m. I think I will need to return for a weekend brunch in the future.
Today's cocktail is adapted from Alchemy in a Glass by Greg Seider via Imbibe Magazine. I really enjoyed this one because of the way it captures the flavors of fall--pear (which is in abundance now), rosemary and cloves all work in concert with the bubbles from the prosecco to form a balanced drink with a slight hint of spice. The pear-rosemary purée does take a little time, but I think it was well worth it. I found that 1 ripe medium peeled pear (I used Bartlett) translates to about 4 ounces of puree (simply trim the stem end, peel, core, and slice then blend in the food processor or blender with about 1 ounce of water until smooth). So if you are making the full 20 ounces of purée, as per the recipe below (which will make 10 drinks), use 5 pears. For my purposes (2 drinks) I adjusted the amount and used 1 1/2 ounces agave with 1 sprig of rosemary, then 4 ounces of pear purée. If you make the pear-rosemary purée ahead of time, this could make a nice Thanksgiving Day cocktail.
This Sunday, November, 23, be sure to check out the Empty Bowl Project, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., at Marchesa Hall at The Linc. Lots of great local restaurants (Wink, Sazon, Soup Peddler, East Side Café, Buenos Aires Café, Foreign & Domestic, Thai Fresh to name a few) will be serving fresh, hot soup in a hand crafted bowl that you get to take home with you. The event benefits Kids Cafe, a program of the Capital Area Food Bank, and Meals for Kids, a program of Meals on Wheels & More.
The Last Cocktail
1 ounce gin
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
2 ounce pear-rosemary purée*
1 1/2 ounces prosecco
Ground cloves and fresh rosemary sprig for garnish
Combine all ingredients, except the sparkling wine, in a shaker filled 2/3 with ice and shake for 30 seconds. Add the prosecco, then double-strain into an ice-filled rocks glass and garnish with rosemary and a sprinkle of cloves (I was out of ground cloves, so I used a mortar and pestle to ground up some whole cloves.)
*Pear-Rosemary Purée: In a small saucepan, combine 4 fresh rosemary sprigs with 5 ounces of agave syrup (I used a light agave) and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for 30 minutes, covered. Fine-strain into a large glass bottle (minimum 25 ounces) and allow to further cool to room temperature. Add 20 ounces of pear purée and shake to combine. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
I was home alone one recent evening cooking dinner for one (a rare occurrence with my husband out of town and my son out with friends). Not wanting to go to the grocery store, I decided to make due with what was in the refrigerator and pantry. With a bag of Brussels sprouts, some lemon, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, I came up with a quick, easy, satisfying and delicious sautée. Later I realized I instinctively (and subconsciously) went back to a recipe I had made earlier in the year found on Food52, which originated from Union Square Café in New York City. The proportions may not have been precise, but it was still that great combination of earthy sprouts, tangy lemon with an extra punch from the garlic. This week I decided to try the recipe again and to follow the instructions (almost) to the letter. It was still hearty and satisfying, made just a little fancier with the addition of white wine and poppy seeds. I think it would make a great Thanksgiving side because the cooking time is minimal (4-5 minutes), allowing the freshness of the ingredients to pop, and it would pair well with other more traditional Thanksgiving favorites. Prep in advance and throw it all together while the turkey is being carved.
Union Square Café's Hashed Brussels Sprouts
1 pound large Brussels sprouts
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced (I only used 1 clove)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Wash the sprouts then trim the ends. Cut the sprouts in half lengthwise, then rotate and slice into very thin 1/8" slices. Preheat a large sautée pan over medium heat, add the oil and increase the heat to high, almost to the point that the oil is smoking. Add the sprouts, lemon, garlic and stir well. Add the wine and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn the heat to low and add the salt, pepper and poppy seeds. Stir well and allow to cook one more minute. (Serves 4-6)
Sawyer & Co. on E. Caesar Chavez opened earlier in September to much fanfare. The proprietors of 2 Dine 4 Catering and Swoop Events, Lauren and Stephen Shallcross, lovingly restored the old Arkie's Grill, with the help of designer Mickie Spenser (who created the interiors of East Side Showroom and Hillside Farmacy), and reimagined it as a more polished and stylized mid-century diner serving Creole and Cajun food. The moment you walk inside, it is like stepping back in time. From the hostess stand with a built-in retro television playing black and white 50's and 60's shows, to the mid-century style furniture, light fixtures, and wallpaper; no element has been overlooked. The back patio features the original Arkie's Grill molded plastic benches, complete with Astroturf and macrame hanging plant holders. The front portion of the space has a line of booths along one wall, and mounted stools that flank the full bar along the other. The back of the restaurant has a very high ceiling and a long, high back booth that runs the entire rear wall, with tables and chairs pulled up next to it. The mood is set for the complete diner experience.
Keep in mind that the food here is simple, home-cooked style fare (like a classic diner). Nothing fancy, but still well conceived. Our party of 8 enjoyed lunch there last week and tried a variety of items on the menu. I had the Fried Shrimp Po-boy served on a French roll with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayo. The bread was fresh, with good texture and the shrimp was well seasoned and perfectly fried. There was an enormous amount of food on my plate, but I managed to finish about two-thirds of it. A friend had the classic BLT with cheese and was pleased. This was a favorite item she had ordered before on a previous visit. Several friends had the Seafood Salad with tartar sauce. I did not have a taste of this, but the produce looked bright and well prepared. Probably the favorite item at the table was the Creole Shrimp and Grits served with a side of Stewed Okra. The shrimp was cooked in tomatoes and sat atop a bed of creamy grits, piping hot with just enough spice. And the stewed okra was just like your Southern grandma used to make.
For dessert we had a trio of pies: Key Lime, Coconut Cream, and Chocolate Bourbon Pecan complete with whipped cream on top. All of pastry chef Claudia Vidal's creations were divine. I don't even like Key Lime pie, but clearly I never had the right one before. The crust was tender and flaky, and the filling was light with the slightest back note of tart lime brushing up against the sweet cream. These pies are worth the trip alone. Chefs Happy Abdelbaki and Chris Chism developed the menu and clearly have a handle on the comfort food of Louisiana down pat. I have heard great things about their gumbo and relish a trip back to try that. The bar serves draft cocktails, handmade cocktails, wine, and beer as well. Breakfast is also highly recommended, so more than one return visit is in order. Service was very helpful and friendly, and we never felt rushed during the meal. We enjoyed our prime spot underneath the enormous wall clock at the back of the restaurant. Sawyer & Co. serves breakfast and lunch Monday-Saturday, Sunday brunch, dinner Wednesday-Saturday, and happy hour Wednesday-Saturday 3:30-6:30 p.m.
This little number from Whole Foods Market would make a nice Thanksgiving day cocktail served with appetizers. It's fresh and easy sipping, with an herbaceous quality from the rosemary, tartness from the cranberry and sweetness from the orange. All around balanced and not too boozy, so the relatives won't overindulge before the turkey is carved. You can make a whole pitcher ahead of time (see the above link for the correct proportions), then everyone can help themselves. You can even make a non-alcoholic pitcher for the kiddos using club soda or ginger ale in lieu of the sparkling wine. Try it out for yourself this weekend (recipe below serves one) and see what you think. Don't forget to check out the East Austin Studio Tour happening this weekend and next--a great way to get some early holiday shopping in.
2 1/2 ounces clementine juice (about 2 1/2 clementines), plus the zest of one clementine, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cane sugar (for the rim)
1 palmful of cranberries (about 5)
1 sprig rosemary
3 ounces sparkling wine (I used a cava)
1 1/2 ounces tonic water
Place sugar and clementine zest on a plate, mix together well with your fingers; move the plate around a bit to create an evenly distributed single layer. Carefully wet the rim of a medium glass with a damp paper towel, dip rim of glass into sugared clementine zest, set aside. In a small 8 ounce pitcher with a spout, muddle cranberries, cranberry juice and rosemary with a wooden spoon. Add clementine juice, sparkling wine and tonic water, stir well. Pour into prepared glass, add an extra rosemary sprig and/or a clementine wheel for garnish if you like. (Serves 1)
I am always on the prowl for new recipes that will work for Thanksgiving. This one comes from Jack Gilmore of Jack Allen's Kitchen via Austin Woman Magazine. Gilmore has a new cookbook that was recently published and has been appearing around town at book signings (the next one is at BookPeople on November 21 at 7:00 p.m.). His third Jack Allen Kitchen is due to open in Westlake in 2015.
I think this recipe was worth the prep time. It's a savory mix of all the good vegetables and herbs of the season. I only used one butternut squash because that was all I had at the time (it didn't seem to greatly impact the result other than serving size). Also, I diced the vegetables to 1" due to my own preference (the original recipe calls for a 1/4" dice). Try Serious Eats simple method for prepping the squash without the hassle.
Butternut Squash Hash
2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped to 1" inch dice
4 red potatoes, chopped to 1" dice
1 medium red onion, chopped to 1" dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon sage, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except 2 tablespoons olive oil, and incorporate well. Place on a foil covered baking sheet in the oven and stir occasionally (every 10 minutes) until almost done, approximately 30 minutes. If preparing in advance, allow to cool. then refrigerate (can be prepared two days in advance). When you are ready to use the hash, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the hash, stirring every few minutes, for approximately 20 minutes. (Serves 4-6)
Last week a friend and I met for lunch at Salt & Time Butcher Shop and Salumeria. The last time I visited was for dinner, so I was curious to find out about their lunch menu. It is very simple and straightforward: 6 sandwiches are offered, one of which is a daily veggie special, and all are served with potato salad. There are daily specials, as well as a salumi board with a selection of house made meats in case you feel like keeping it paleo. We were seated at the counter by the front entrance and were given sincere and helpful service from our waitperson.
I opted for the Lambwich which has roasted lamb (expertly sliced, neither too thick, nor too thin), tzatziki, pickled onions, and greens. It was probably one of the best lamb sandwiches I have ever had. The meat was lean and well seasoned, the sauce was smooth and perfectly tangy, while the remaining ingredients added just the right bit of crunch. Restraint and knowing which elements to include made this sandwich great, not to mention the quality of the ingredients. My friend had the Grinder which contained mortadella, salami, ham, and Swiss on a challah roll. I didn't have a bite (we were both so absorbed with our own sandwiches, we barely came up for air), but she was very happy with it. The bread, very fresh with good texture, is sourced from Moonlight Bakery. Everything else is made in house and it shows. Since the space is fairly limited in size, plan to arrive a bit early (close to 11:30 a.m.), or on the other side of the lunch hour (around 1:00 p.m.), which may allow more seating options. Reservations are available for dinner, so that might be a wise move. Happy hour is Tuesday-Saturday 3:00-6:00 p.m. with additional drink specials Tuesday-Friday. For lunch, dinner, brunch, happy hour, or just picking up some ingredients to cook at home, Chef Josh Jones and his team have you covered.
This drink from cocktail consultant Nick Mautone via Food & Wine somehow feels like a bridge into the new season. The citrus aspect from the orange bitters and the oranges twists is a nod to the prime crop of oranges from the Valley you can find in markets now. The sherry (note that it is a rinse) reminds me of holiday family gatherings because my grandmother liked to drink sherry during the cooler months. Drink it slowly, maybe as an apéritif, served with some nuts and cheese. Enjoy the weekend.
1/2 ounce fino sherry
2 orange twists (I used Clementine oranges, no Seville to be found this time of year)
2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce Lillet Blanc
2 dashes of orange bitters
Chill a martini glass in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Then rinse the chilled glass with the sherry and squeeze 1 of the orange twists (to release the citrus oil) into the rinsed glass, then discard. Fill a pint glass two thirds with ice. Add gin, Lillet Blanc and orange bitters and stir briskly in one direction for 30 seconds to chill. Strain into the prepared martini glass. Flame the remaining orange twist over the drink (see below) and drop it into the glass. (Serves 1)
Flaming a lemon or orange twist caramelizes the zest’s essential oils. Cut a thin, oval, quarter-size piece of peel with a bit of the pith intact. Gently grasp the outer edges skin side down between the thumb and two fingers and hold the twist about 4 inches over the cocktail. Hold a lit match over the drink an inch away from the twist (don’t let the flame touch the peel), then pinch the edges of the twist sharply so that the citrus oil falls through the flame, into the drink. (from Food & Wine cocktail basics techniques)
The love of food and how it can bring people together led to the creation of this blog. As a mother of two grown boys, who have left the nest and occasionally return, I noticed a common occurrence-- there is usually someone at home who is hungry.
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