Joel’s grandma gifted him with this mix from Frontier Soups a while ago and it has been sitting in our pantry ever since. Last week it was chilly and I was feeling lazy so I thought we’d try the soup. All you have to do is soak the beans and then mix everything together with a pound of sausage (chicken jalapeno) and a can of artichokes. It was pretty tasty though I think chili is a misnomer…it is more of a bean stew at best.
Would I ever buy this soup mix on my own? Probably not. It isn’t hard to measure spices but it was a nice gift that we finally used. Flavor was nice though a tad salty but I always enjoy artichokes in anything!
We also brewed a Scottish Ale, which should be ready for bottling in about two weeks…ready for drinking two months after that…
This was my first Thanksgiving in California since 2003. Many things have changed. Most notably, my mom and aunt are no longer with us. The adults no longer cook; the dinner is entirely driven by the kids (30-40 year old kids). I finally had time to do a 5 mile Turkey Trot through Golden Gate Park.
My contributions were John Besh’s oyster dressing and sausage potato puffs. The oyster dressing was inspired by Joel’s grandma who makes a (still delicious but) more midwestern version–white sandwich bread, less briny and not as spicy. When I came across John Besh’s version I knew I had to make it myself since we wouldn’t be with Joel’s family for Thanksgiving. I followed the recipe almost exactly–just added a few bonus oysters. It was a hit and there wasn’t much left over for the following day. I did buy too many oysters (the oysters I got from Costco were much larger than the variety found in New Orleans so I didn’t need anywhere near 4 dozen) so this week I’ll make either kaki fry or po’boys.
I’ve made the sausage potato puffs many times before though I tend to use pancetta rather than sausage. I think my jalapeno sausage chunks were too big this time so the puffs didn’t stay together very well. I also made them in standard-sized muffin tins because I was running behind schedule and we needed to make the drive down the peninsula. They’re not the smartest items to bring to a potluck because they’re best fresh out of the oven, but they were still well received. I made them for Mother’s Day in Indiana last year and for a crabfest I hosted four years ago here in SF.
The day after Thanksgiving, we went over to my dad’s for Crabsgiving. Crabs steamed in beer, garlic noodles and Sierra Nevada Autumn brew.
Our last Thanksgiving of the weekend was Friendsgiving, a tradition that I’ve always been out of town for. I was tired of cooking so my contributions were beer, corn pudding, oatmeal peanut butter cookies and gingersnaps. The real revelation was Alison’s butternut squash lasagna…we totally stole the leftovers and will be making this soon.
We had a little leftover pesto that we had made the previous week and a half jar of red sauce. Rather than throw them away or have two small bowls of different pasta, we just tossed it all together with onions, garlic, mushrooms, yellow squash and chicken tarragon sausage over whole wheat spaghetti.
I was a little apprehensive about mixing pesto with red sauce but was pleasantly surprised.
We had an amazing dinner at Incanto last night. The revelation was pork blood pasta with pork trotters, foie and house-made raisins. Richly decadent…I want more! Hopefully Santa brings me a pasta maker (or I’ll just buy my own) so we can start making our own pastas at home!
After a meat-filled weekend, I wanted to lighten up the week with a hearty vegetarian soup. Several years ago, I went to El Mansour, a Moroccan restaurant in San Francisco’s Outer Richmond, for a friend’s birthday dinner. I really enjoyed their lentil soup and eventually found this recipe. The only thing I can remember about the recipe is that I’ve made it once before. However, I have no notes on adjustments or flavor so I was flying blind the second time around.
I followed the recipe fairly closely except I added one chopped potato, several dashes of paprika and a teaspoon or two of salt. Though I like the flavor of the soup, next time I would make it with chicken broth for some more depth and flavor. JD really liked this soup (with pita chips) so its going into the rotation.
p.s. A hand blender really comes in handy for soups like this; no need to ladle hot soup into a blender.
We spent last weekend relaxing at a beautiful vineyard estate in Sonoma, which meant we came home with a case of wine from Peterson Winery. I have been a longtime fan of this winery for many reasons. They make great tasting yet affordable wines. Their pinot noir (which they don’t make anymore) was the first wine I tasted and really enjoyed (after a lifetime of drinking $4 swill from Trader Joe’s). They’re family run: Fred started the whole operation and now his son Jamie is the winemaker. Every interaction with them reminds me of how genuine and friendly everyone is at Peterson. One time several years ago, my friend’s car broke down in front of the tasting room and Jamie hung out with us until AAA came.
Though I had to take a two year hiatus for grad school, I’ve been a member of their wine club (Friends of Fred) for many years now. Its good to be enjoying their wines again. They’re close to their grapes and just very accessible people, which I appreciate. While at the tasting room this past weekend, we smelled something delicious that Fred was eating out front with his brother. Turns out, Jamie had made lamb stew, which he shared with us as well (very tasty, and I’ll need to make something like that when it gets colder…I’ve never cooked lamb before).
We had a little bit of Peterson wine left over from the previous week to cook with and to drink, we opened a fresh bottle of Peterson Sangiovese from our visit with the family over the weekend.
I could eat grits every day and we do make them fairly often in place of polenta. The ragu changes depending on what we have lying around. This time, we had farmer’s market tomatoes from the previous week threatening to turn and leftover wine for everything to simmer in. Joel picked up sausages from the butcher and swiss chard and mushrooms from the market. Sauteed everything with onions and garlic and served it over grits made with chicken broth and leftover cheese…a great chilly weeknight dinner.
The next day, I packed the ragu over brown rice for lunch. YUM!
Yeah, I’m totally behind. Work has been a beast though I still try to make time to cook when I get home from work at least a few nights a week.
My family came over to watch Game 3 of the World Series (that’s how behind I am). I made some buffalo dip, Joel made his famous guacamole and I prepped toppings for a pizza party. For dessert, I had originally planned on making pumpkin cookies but my cousin had made pumpkin bars so I decided to make oatmeal chocolate chip peanut butter cookies instead. Midway through the recipe, I realized that the cinnamon must have been in the box that went missing during our cross-country move.
Unfortunately, I had already put in the nutmeg (dummy mistake) so the cookies ended up tasting strongly of nutmeg, which nobody seemed to mind. However, next time I would probably omit the cinnamon & nutmeg entirely and add a few more chocolate chips. Some of my cookies lacked chips!
Stay tuned for kitchen sink ragu, moroccan lentil soup and kitchen sink pasta.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Guilty Kitchen which was adapted from Gourmet
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup peanut butter (smooth, chunky, natural, whatever)
1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
1. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients.
2. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugars.
3. Beat in vanilla, peanut butter and eggs. Add flour a little at atime and mix until completely incorporated.
4. Stir in chocolate chips and do one of two things: Roll into 2 logs, 2 inches in diameter and refrigerate for 2 hours OR spoon onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart and flattening into cookie shapes and bake right away. The chilling does help a bit in the forming process but I found it somewhat unnecessary. (If you do refrigerate the dough, simply cut into discs, roll around a bit to soften edges, flatten, and bake for the same amount of time).
5. Bake at 350°F for 13-15 minutes.