Tag Archives: Food and Wine

Nori Granola #BrunchWeek

Welcome to the fourth annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures! Eight amazing sponsors are helping us host a GIVEAWAY of some incredible prizes for multiple winners. CLICK HERE to enter!

Nori Granola

Granola has long enjoyed a sturdy yet largely undeserved reputation for being a health food. Kind of like a burrito from Chipotle! Ha! Seriously though, have you read the labels on most store-bought granolas? Yikes, the sugar content! Homemade is far superior and gives you much more control, but I still always think it has more sugar than I usually want for breakfast. I tend to save it for sweet snacks or even a small (unglamorous) dessert.

Nori Granola

This granola changed my mind. It’s mostly savory! Call me sheltered but I’d never before tasted savory granola, and I was a little skeptical. The sugar content is… eh, fairly low, and there’s actual real nutrition from the nori sheets, plus sesame seeds and nuts. A touch of spice, and a really interesting, complex flavor that keeps you doing the whole “hmm, what is that?” routine with each bite.

Nori Granola

Nori Granola

Except… my PSA for the day – this is not cereal. Don’t pour milk over it. OMG, so gross!!

Nori sheets are pretty easy to find these days, but I had to order shichimi togarashi online. If you want to make it yourself, Chowhound has a good recipe. Give this a try, it’s such a unique twist on granola! Enjoy!

Nori Granola

Nori Granola

Source: Food & Wine Magazine, September 2015, recipe submitted by Heidi Swanson

Ingredients:
¼ cup honey
¼ cup raw sugar
2 tbs water
3 ½ cups rolled oats, not instant
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped nuts of your choice: walnuts, cashews, pecans, etc.
¼ cup sesame seeds
2 tbs fennel seeds
1 tbs shichimi togarashi
½ tsp black pepper
5 (8-inch) nori sheets (or the equivalent, depending on what size nori sheets you find), torn and crumbled into 1-inch-or-so pieces
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 300 F.
In a small saucepan, combine the honey, sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and bubbles appear at the edge, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
In a large bowl, toss the oats with the nuts, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, shichimi togarashi, black pepper, and nori. Add the honey mixture and salt. Stir to coat the oats, then stir in the olive oil.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Spread the granola in an even layer, getting as close to the edges as possible. Bake about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally (especially at the edges), until the granola is golden brown. Let cool completely before serving – the granola will crisp as it cools.

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Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.

Escarole and Roasted Broccoli Salad with Anchovy Dressing #SundaySupper

Escarole and Roasted Broccoli Salad with Anchovy Dressing

Welcome to Sunday Supper, where we are bringing you a theme of Winter Salads! I personally love this one 🙂

I’ve actually been making several delicious winter salads lately, but the one I’m sharing today is probably the absolute tops. I literally made this recipe three times in two weeks. For me, that’s saying a lot.

Escarole and Roasted Broccoli Salad with Anchovy Dressing

I know I often say that a recipe is repeat-worthy, but my shameful little secret is, it doesn’t mean that I actually repeated the recipe. I don’t have many repeat recipes in my arsenal. Not because they aren’t wonderful, but because there’s so many more things to cook! So the fact that I made this one three times in two weeks should tell you something.

Escarole and Roasted Broccoli Salad with Anchovy Dressing

It’s superlative. The broccoli is roasted within an inch of its life, which makes a wonderful complement to the raw escarole – my favorite dark green – and the creamy dressing and salty cheese ties it all together. I adore anchovies, and I’m not pregnant or squeamish about a raw egg yolk, but I made this salad for hosting a brunch and was a little worried that my guests might not agree with me there, so I dressed this with a homemade ranch, and it was absolutely outstanding that way too. Food for thought…

Escarole and Roasted Broccoli Salad with Anchovy Dressing

I hope y’all enjoy this one. It’s really one of my favorite things I’ve made lately. And be sure you check out the winter salads from the rest of my Sunday Supper crew!

Source: Food & Wine, April 2010

Ingredients:

DRESSING:
2 anchovy fillets, drained
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large egg yolk
½ tbs fresh lemon juice
1 generous tsp chopped fresh marjoram
6 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste

SALAD:
1 head of broccoli (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch florets only
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 medium head of escarole, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
3-4 oz. Asiago cheese, cubed

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 450 F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the broccoli florets with 1 tbs olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste. Spread in a single layer. Roast for 18 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, make the DRESSING. In a mini food processor, blend the anchovies, garlic, egg yolk, lemon juice, and marjoram. Transfer the mixture to a medium-to-large sized mixing bowl, preferably one that will stay still on the counter without you holding it. Whisk the mixture once or twice, then start streaming the 6 tbs olive oil while still whisking rather vigorously. Slow drip of olive oil is key here. If you stream it in too fast, the dressing won’t emulsify and will keep breaking on you. Once you’ve added the olive oil, season generously with black pepper and with only a pinch of salt. The anchovies are very salty already! If your dressing is too thick, like the texture of mayonnaise, thin it with a splash of water.
Assemble the salad by tossing the escarole and roasted broccoli in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle in the cheese and serve immediately.
Leftovers will actually keep, fully dressed, for about 3 days. The escarole doesn’t wilt, and as long as you refrigerate it immediately after dinner, the raw egg will be fine.

#SundaySupper Winter Salads

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Wild Rice Salad plus more Winter Salad Recipes #SundaySupper from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Viognier-Steamed Clams with Bacon and Parsnips

Viognier Steamed Clams with Bacon and Parsnips

A few days ago, I noticed my body was absolutely screaming for some seafood and vegetables. And while I don’t really buy into the whole “intuitive eating” concept – sometimes my “intuition” is toddler-esque and wants to eat ice cream for dinner, and I have to say no to myself; and then of course, as any parent of a toddler does, try to ignore the ensuing anger, pouting and tears. But when my body yelps for something light and healthy, I do listen up.

Viognier Steamed Clams with Bacon and Parsnips

Amidst all the holiday baking and heavier foods of the current season, I’ve been made aware of the need to balance it all out with some lighter fare. I’m going to take how wonderful this meal tasted, plus the way I was absolutely HORFING an arugula salad last night as confirmation that I did the right thing.

Viognier Steamed Clams with Bacon and Parsnips

There is some wintry richness to this dish, but it’s really balanced. And just wonderfully delicious. There’s all the flavors and textures your palate could possibly want in one bowl. Briny and chewy clams, salty, crunchy bacon, sweet softness from the parsnips, and fatty richness from the cream base all come together for the perfect bite.

Viognier Steamed Clams with Bacon and Parsnips

And if this isn’t enough to convince you, let me also say that this is the ideal weeknight meal, especially for this busy time. It comes together very quickly – the longest time-suck is roasting the parsnips, and that is mostly hands off and can be done days before. The rest comes together in one pot and very fast. Oh and if you can’t find Viognier wine, just sub in a dry Reisling. Enjoy!

Viognier Steamed Clams with Bacon and Parsnips

Source: slightly adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, October 2006

Ingredients:
½ lb. parsnips, peeled
2 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 oz. thickly sliced bacon, chopped
¾ cup Viognier
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 small shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed and rinsed
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbs snipped chives
Oyster crackers, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Cut your parsnips in half crosswise, so you have skinny pieces and fatter pieces. Cut the skinny pieces in half once lengthwise and quarter the fatter pieces lengthwise. Place the parsnips on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast the parsnips, turning once or twice, until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then slice them across ¼-inch thick. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a deep skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until well browned and crisp, about 6 minutes. Remove the bacon strips with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Add the Voignier, butter, shallots, and garlic to the skillet over medium heat. Add the clams and turn the heat to high. Cover the pot and cook until they open, 6 to 8 minutes. Use tongs to transfer each clam to a large bowl as they open.
Add the cream to the clam broth in the skillet. Boil until reduced by half, a couple of minutes. Add the roasted parsnips, bacon, chives, and the cooked clams in their shells to the skillet. Season generously with black pepper.
To serve, spoon into shallow bowls and garnish with oyster crackers. Serve immediately.
Serves 2-3 people.

Romaine, Blueberry, and Corn Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

Romaine, Blueberry and Corn Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

Monday is killing me today, and no, it has nothing to do with the wine I consumed last night! (Actually my lack of sleep had much more to do with cat drama during the night, which I won’t bore you with, but if anyone is a cat whisperer, please do drop me a line. Thanks!)

Romaine, Blueberry and Corn Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

Anyways, after I stopped forcing stone fruit season to arrive before it intended to do so, I’ve been gobbling up all the berries like they’re going out of season soon. Ha!

Romaine, Blueberry and Corn Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

About a month ago, I picked up (what was then) the latest issue of Food & Wine, and was immediately intrigued by their idea of using fresh blueberries in a vinaigrette for salad. I’m here to report it is indeed delicious, so I put together a simple and summery salad of romaine, fresh sweet corn, and more blueberries (plus croutons!) to showcase this unique blueberry salad dressing.

Romaine, Blueberry and Corn Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

I hope y’all enjoy it!

Source: vinaigrette from Food & Wine, July 2015

Ingredients:

VINAIGRETTE:
¼ cup fresh blueberries
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp adobo sauce from a can of chipotle in adobo
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

SALAD:
2 hearts of romaine, chopped or torn
1 ear of corn, husks and silks stripped away and discarded, kernels cut off the cob
A couple of generous handfuls of fresh blueberries
Croutons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
First make the VINAIGRETTE. In a small saucepan, use a potato masher to mash the blueberries with the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 8 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly.
Scrape the blueberry mixture into a bowl and whisk in the oil, vinegar, and adobo sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To make the SALAD, place the romaine chunks into a large salad bowl, followed by the corn kernels and the fresh blueberries. Season lightly with salt and heavily with black pepper. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss gently to combine. Add more dressing if needed (you can always add more dressing in, but you can’t take it out if you overdress the salad!). Garnish with croutons and serve immediately.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pickled Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pickled Walnuts and Blue Cheese

One of my favorite things about summer is, without a doubt, heirloom tomatoes. I await their annual arrival with impatience and once they are finally here I buy them every chance I can. Truth be told, I’m mostly boring with them. Slice them, a sprinkle of salt, and given their size I find that’s a lovely and surprisingly filling side dish to a lean protein.

heirloom tomato salad with pickled walnuts and blue cheese

Obviously I can’t blog that. So I blog my other favorite thing to do with them: salads!! Every summer I hunt down a unique and creative way to showcase these beauties via salads, and when I find one I like, I keep making it every other day until Matt serves the cease and desist request. (He’s not nearly as big a fan of tomatoes as I am).

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pickled Walnuts and Blue Cheese

But, he did like this one a lot, which means it’s *extremely* tasty. I couldn’t get enough, every time I made it. The first time found us pressed for time, so I skipped the candied walnuts and just pickled regular ones. No. Hunt down or DIY them up candied, it’s so worth it. I also skipped the celery, on account of having forgotten to buy it (d’oh!), and please don’t do that either. It lends not so much flavor but a wonderful crunch that complements the soft texture of the heirlooms.

heirloom tomato salad with pickled walnuts and blue cheese

I really can’t say enough good things about this beautiful salad. If you love, or even like, heirlooms, then this needs to be in your summer repertoire while we can still get ahold of those babies. Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pickled Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Source: Food & Wine, June 2011 (recipe submitted by Richard Blais)

Ingredients:
½ cup candied walnuts, coarsely chopped
4 tsp sherry vinegar, divided
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
2 lbs. assorted heirloom tomatoes, thickly sliced or cut into large wedges
2 small celery ribs with leaves, thinly sliced crosswise
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese

Directions:
In a small bowl, toss the walnuts with 2 tsp of the vinegar and let stand for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, whisk the mustard with the remaining 2 tsp vinegar and the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Arrange the tomatoes on a platter. Season with salt. Add the celery and its leaves, nuts and cheese. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Like many other Gen X Americans, my first experience of squid was in the form of fried calamari with the cocktail dipping sauce. I’d heard of this restaurant appetizer in my teens, but unsurprisingly, I was incredibly reluctant to try it, given the squeamish picky eating and all. Also unsurprisingly, it was my then-boyfriend and now-husband who convinced me to give it a taste.

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

And so I fell down the rabbit hole. Needless to say, I loved fried calamari and started ordering it whenever I got the chance. It wasn’t until some years later that I thought that maybe I should try squid in non-breaded, non-fried states as well.

We’ve grilled it many times, which is harder than it looks to get the perfect texture, and possibly why I’ve yet to blog grilled squid. I’ve also got in mind a stuffed squid dish I want to try, and rest assured squid is delicious in paella or over pasta.

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

But (pseudo) stir-frying the squid, I’m very happy to report, is probably one of the easiest methods of cooking this type of seafood out there. It takes almost no time to cook, and a primarily Asian cooking method yielded this beautiful Italian-style quick and healthy dinner. The tomatoes are bright and acidic, yet slightly sweet, and their soft texture plays well against the firmer squid pieces. However… don’t forget the bread. You’ll want it and sorely miss it if you forget to pick any up from the store. Don’t ask me how I know this. Enjoy!

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Source: Food & Wine, August 2013

Ingredients:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 ½ lbs. mixed cherry tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ lbs. small squid, cleaned, bodies cut into 1/3-inch rings and tentacles halved
1 ½ tbs white wine vinegar
1 cup lightly packed basil leaves

Directions:
In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes just start to blister, 4 minutes. Stir in the squid and cook over medium low heat, stirring, until the squid turns opaque, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Short-Cut Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Harissa

Short-Cut Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Harissa

Though in many ways we grew up in very different circumstances, we share one aspect of childhood very much in common: both my husband and I were raised in households with parents who insisted we eat healthfully and get our fair share of vegetables. Not only was there a side serving of veggies present at most dinners, we were both exposed to a nice variety of fruits and vegetables – it wasn’t the same few produce items at every meal. Now, not gonna lie here – both of us as children had a pretty decent laundry list of vegetables we didn’t *want* to eat, but both of our respective parents toed a fairly firm line of “eat it anyway, they’re good for you.”

roasted broccoli rabe

So, you’d think at least one of us would have entered adulthood knowing what broccoli rabe was. Nope. Didn’t happen. It’s only been in the last year or so that we’ve started eating it when its early spring season rolls around. This year we’ve been playing around with the more traditional method of cooking it – boiling it to reduce its inherent bitterness, then sautéing in a cast iron skillet and dousing it with a dressing or sauce. Quite tasty.

short cut pasta with broccoli rabe and harissa

And then I ran across a different method of preparing it in an older issue of Food & Wine – roasting it in the oven. I haven’t ever seen that method for broccoli rabe before (which isn’t to say it’s not out there – like I said above, I’m fairly new to the world of this veggie).

Short-Cut Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Harissa

But, I was very intrigued to try it, so try it I did, and I found it quite lovely, so I had to share it with you. Broccoli rabe is quite tasty prepared this way, and here’s a plus if you have a smaller kitchen – roasting it in the oven dirties up fewer dishes overall than boiling-then-sautéing will. I will add that you lose less of the bitterness by roasting, but I found it a pleasant bitterness – not at all overpowering, and it played very well with the chewy, mild pasta and the spicy flavors going on in this recipe. Fantastic vegetarian dinner option. Enjoy!

Short-Cut Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Harissa

{One Year Ago: Shaved Asparagus Pizza; Homemade Pizza Sauce}
{Two Years Ago: Penne alla Puttanesca}

Source: Food & Wine Magazine, August 2013

Ingredients:
1 large bunch of broccoli rabe, ends trimmed
¼ cup olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and black pepper
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno or Fresno chile, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tsp harissa
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 lb. short cut pasta, such as gemelli, penne, cavatappi, cavatelli, or whatever you prefer
Grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 large handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 large handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli rabe with 2 tbs olive oil plus salt and pepper to taste. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats, then arrange the broccoli rabe on the 2 baking sheets in as even a layer as possible. Roast for 15 minutes, until crisp-tender. Remove to a cutting board and chop into bite-size pieces.
In a large (12-inch) deep skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbs oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, chile and harissa and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until the garlic and chile are tender.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously, then cook the pasta according to package directions, just to al dente. When done, drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta, cooking water, and about ¼ cup parmesan to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the pasta is coated in a thick sauce, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mint and parsley, and more cheese if desired. Serve immediately with more cheese for garnish, if preferred.

Veal Stew with Spring Greens #SundaySupper

Veal Stew with Spring Greens

Welcome to another Sunday Supper! Our theme this week is Spring Fling because… it’s about time, isn’t it? Most of us, it seems, had another pretty rough winter and it’s high time the snow and freezing temperatures let us be.

Probably obvious, but of course we over at Sunday Supper are ushering in this most welcome new season with spring recipes. I chose to feature this stew, which uses veal – very reminiscent of spring – and then highlights many of the greens just now coming into season.

Veal Stew with Spring Greens

Like spinach, and watercress, and leeks, and yes – romaine. Yep, I’m going to go there and ask you to put romaine lettuce in your stew. It’s weird. And yet – it works. The romaine doesn’t wilt the way you fear it will, instead it leaves a lovely crunch, yet wilts just enough to blend in with the texture of the stew.

veal stew with spring greens

The veal becomes impossibly moist and tender, and as a bonus, it takes a much shorter time to cook than would beef. The flavors here are delicate but not precious. It’s light but still hearty.

Veal Stew with Spring Greens

So happy Spring to everyone! Summer is around the corner! Enjoy this one last stew of the colder months. And be sure you check out my Sunday Supper gang, they’ve brought some beautiful recipes for Spring!

Veal Stew with Spring Greens

{Two Years Ago: Tomato Cornbread}

Source: slightly adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, April 2010

Ingredients:
3 tbs unsalted butter, divided
1 tbs olive oil, divided
3 lbs. veal stew meat, trimmed if necessary, and blotted dry with paper towels
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 large bunch of adult spinach leaves, chopped
1 large bunch of sorrel leaves, chopped
1 head of romaine, chopped
1 bunch of watercress, chopped
1 leek, white part only, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into half moons
¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup finely chopped fresh tarragon
¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives
1 cup crème fraiche
Hunks of baguette, for serving

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Set a large Dutch oven over medium-high to high heat. Melt a pat or two of the butter, plus a drizzle of olive oil, in the hot pot. Add the veal and cook until browned, turning once. Do not crowd the pan. You will probably need to do this in batches, so use a little of the butter and oil for each batch. When the last batch has been browned, add all the browned veal, plus any accumulated juices back into the pot. Add the wine, then remove from the heat. Cover the Dutch oven with a piece of parchment paper, then cover with the pot’s lid. Transfer to the oven for 1 hour.
Now add the spinach, sorrel, romaine, watercress, leek, parsley, tarragon, chives and crème fraiche to the pot. Stir well, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover again with the parchment and the lid and return to the oven for 30 minutes longer, until the greens are wilted and the veal is tender.
Ladle the stew into bowls and serve with the bread alongside for mopping.
Note: if the greens are initially overwhelming your Dutch oven and threatening to spill over, then add about half of them without the crème fraiche, re-cover the pot with the parchment and lid and cook about 15 minutes, then add the remaining greens plus crème fraiche, stir, and cook another 15 minutes.

Beverages

Appetizers

Sides

Entreés

Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

What is it about shellfish that is just so freakin’ sexy? Is it that all shellfish get lumped in with oysters – actual aphrodisiacs – or is it something else? Is it the whole slightly messy eating-with-your-hands thing, which makes consuming the food more primal and sensuous?

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

Whatever the reason, I find a huge bowl of flavorful shrimp accompanied by hunks of bread and glasses of wine to be extremely sexy, date night food; and since Valentine’s Day is this weekend, I thought I’d give you an idea of what to make for your date!

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

This took two tries to get just right, but here it is in all its light, sumptuous, delicious glory. This dish is Creole, not Cajun, so it’s really not spicy. But it is garlicky and lemony and hugely flavorful. Don’t worry about the garlic on a romantic evening – you’re both eating it, so you cancel each other out!

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

Instead of worrying about the garlic, just think about perfectly cooked plump shrimp that give that lush snap when you bite into them, accented with Creole flavors and bright lemony goodness. A sip of wine, a bite of bread mopping up that luscious sauce… Sounds like a great Valentine’s Day to me! Oh, and as an added benefit – this couldn’t be easier and comes together in mere minutes! I hope y’all enjoy it!

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

{One Year Ago: All-Purpose Mexican/Tex-Mex Spice Mix; Curry Powder; Pecan-Crusted Coconut Custards with Brandied Banana Sauce}
{Two Years Ago: Gin and Orange Juice Braised Endives; Beans and Greens Soup}

Source: adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, January 2008

Ingredients:
1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs Creole seasoning
Kosher salt, to taste
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tbs olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tbs unsalted butter, cold
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the garlic, Creole seasoning, salt, and bell pepper. In a large skillet, add the oil and preheat over medium-high to high heat until very hot. Add the entire contents of the bowl of the shrimp mixture. Saute, stirring frequently, until the shrimp is just cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the lemon juice and the butter. Stir quickly to melt the butter. Once melted shut off the heat, stir in the parsley, and serve immediately.

Cider-Glazed Turkey with Lager Gravy

Cider-Glazed Turkey with Lager Gravy 5700

Happy Sunday!! I’m so excited for today’s post! As my regulars know, I’ve been (mostly) focusing the month of November on getting everyone ready for Thanksgiving with plenty of ideas for your big Turkey Day. Thus far, I’ve blogged some starters and sides; don’t worry, desserts are coming your way soon.

Cider-Glazed turkey with lager gravy 5718

But for today, I’m so thrilled to be bringing you a whole roast turkey, complete with luscious, rich gravy! After some drama (I was previously unaware of how difficult it is to locate a whole turkey in October, but word of advice – it is! Wait until November.), I ended up roasting this huge bird alongside this wonderful side dish for a lovely, beautiful Wednesday evening dinner. (See, this is how you keep hump day from being mundane, haha!)

Cider-Glazed Turkey with lager gravy 5733

Lager Gravy for Thanksgiving Turkey 5712

So, let’s talk turkey, shall we? This particular bird is probably going in my Best Turkey I’ve Ever Tasted, Period file. I think it was the cheesecloth. The melted-butter-and-apple-cider-soaked cheesecloth that draped over the entire breast and legs of the turkey. With a few sage leaves thrown in for good measure. It seriously kept the bird SO moist. No hint whatsoever of the dreaded dry breast meat.

cider glazed turkey with lager gravy 5764

Then there was the gravy. I have to confess, I’ve never really taken my time with Thanksgiving turkey gravy. Some pan drippings, flour, turkey or chicken stock, maybe a splash of cream and some herbs, and that’s pretty much it. But this gravy…. For this one, I took my time and gave it lots of special attention. I used the neck and the giblets, and let this thing simmer almost the entire time the turkey was roasting.

Cider glazed turkey with lager gravy 5762

Cider-glazed turkey with Lager gravy 5778

And, the rewards were great. This is one of the most flavorful gravies you will taste. Beautifully smooth and lush and silky. And now, this will sound like a strong statement, but: if you serve this turkey to your guests, they will still be talking about it when you see them again for Christmas. In fact, you might not want to host Christmas dinner, because I’m honestly not sure what you could make that could live up to the reputation you’re going to achieve when you serve this amazing turkey at Thanksgiving. Matt declared it the best turkey he’s ever tasted, and I’m betting at least one person in your family will as well. I hope you all will enjoy this one as much as we did.

cider-glazed turkey with lager gravy 5780

{One Year Ago: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting}
{Two Years Ago: Pumpkin Pecan Cake with Bourbon Brown Sugar Glaze, Chocolate Meringue Pie}

Source: slightly adapted from Food and Wine Magazine, November 2011; recipe submitted by Michael Symon

Ingredients:

TURKEY:
1 (12-14 lb.) whole turkey, neck and giblets reserved
2 tbs kosher salt
1 unpeeled head of garlic, halved crosswise
1 jalapeno, halved
1 Granny Smith apple, quartered
12 sage leaves
1/3 cup cloudy organic apple cider
1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter

GRAVY:
2 tbs olive oil
Reserved turkey neck and giblets
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cloudy, organic apple cider
1 (12 oz.) bottle of lager
1 fresh bay leaf

Directions:
For the TURKEY: season the turkey inside and out with the kosher salt. Set on a large plate and cover the whole thing with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Uncover the turkey and let it return to room temperature, about 20-30 minutes. Stuff the cavity with the garlic, jalapeno, apple and 6 of the sage leaves. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. If the wings are flopping about, tie a large circle around the top of the turkey breast so they lay flat and tight against the breast.
Transfer the turkey to a large roasting pan. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
In a small saucepan, combine the cider with the butter and the remaining 6 sage leaves and cook over low heat until the butter has melted and the sage is fragrant, about 4 minutes. Dampen a 32-by-20-inch piece of cheesecloth* with water and squeeze dry. Immerse the cheesecloth in the apple cider-butter mixture until the liquid is absorbed. Drape the soaked cheesecloth over the turkey breast and legs.
*Please don’t get out your ruler for this step. Just make sure you have enough cheesecloth to cover the turkey breast and legs. It’s fine to use 2 sheets.
Roast the turkey for 30 minutes. Add 2 cups of water to the roasting pan and continue to roast for about 2 hours longer, rotating the pan a few times, until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the inner thigh reads 165 F. It may take more or less time than stated.
Meanwhile, make the GRAVY: in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the turkey neck and giblets, except for the liver, and season with salt and pepper. Reserve the liver. Cook over moderate heat, turning a few times, until nicely browned, about 12 minutes. Remove the turkey parts to a plate and reserve.
Off the heat, stir the flour into the fat in the saucepan to make a paste. Gradually whisk in the cider until smooth, then whisk in the lager. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking continuously until thickened. Return the browned turkey parts to the saucepan and add the bay leaf. Cover and cook over low heat, whisking occasionally, until the gravy is flavorful, about 1 ½ hours. Discard the turkey parts and the bay leaf.
When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and carefully peel away the cheesecloth and discard. Transfer the turkey to a rimmed cutting board and let rest for 30 minutes. Pour the pan juices into a glass measuring cup and skim off the fat. Add the pan juices to the gravy and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Season the reserved liver with salt and pepper, add to the gravy and simmer until pink in the center, about 5 minutes. Remove the liver and cut into small chunks.
In a blender, puree the liver with about 1 cup of the gravy. Whisk the liver puree into the gravy and season with salt and pepper to taste. Rewarm the gravy if necessary. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.