Make-Ahead Roast Turkey Gravy

serves 8

2 turkey wings
1 yellow onion, peeled, sliced thickly
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 2-inch pieces
several sprigs each of fresh thyme, fresh sage, fresh parsley (to taste)
2 teaspoons Chicken Better Than Bouillon
2 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons flour

At least one day ahead:
Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Film the bottom of a roasting pan with the canola oil.  Place the turkey wings in the pan and top with the onion slices.  Roast for 75 minutes or until the wings are brown.

Put the roasted wings into a stock pot.  Add the onions, discarding any completely blackened parts.  Add 1/2 cup water to the roasting pan and scrape up any brown bits.  Add that to the stock pot, along with the carrot, celery and herbs, Better than Bouillon, and 2 more cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 90 minutes.  Strain.  Let cool completely, then refrigerate.

1 or 2 days later:
Remove and discard the fat that solidifies on the top of the stock.

Bring the stock to a simmer.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 2 qt sauce pan.  Add the flour and whisk occasionally for 10 minutes, until nutty and fragrant.  Gradually add the hot turkey broth.  Whisk constantly and vigorously to avoid lumps.  Simmer 3-4 minutes or until the gravy has thickened.  Taste and correct seasoning with salt and pepper.

Published in: on December 28, 2014 at 3:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thanksgiving 2014

for 10

brie with Spiced Cranberry Sauce on bread
pretzel nuggets


19# Trader Joe’s Pre-brined Turkey, following their instructions
mashed potatoes (6)
Mom’s famous creamed onions
Mom’s famous cranberry jelly
Best Turkey Gravy from Cook’s Illustrated, made with home-made turkey stock from 3 # wings
green beans
honey orange glazed carrots
Trader Joe’s pull-apart rolls
red grapes

Mark’s pie extravaganza:

Classic Pumpkin Pie
Cranberry Pecan Crumble Pie
Chocolate Pudding Pie

whipped cream

Apple Crisp

Published in: on November 30, 2014 at 2:16 pm  Comments (1)  

Spiced Cranberry Sauce


Slightly adapted from the recipe at The Splendid

12-ounce bag of cranberries, bruised ones discarded, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2- to 3-inch cinnamon stick
4 green cardamom pods
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Zest from 1 orange, about 1 tablespoon
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier, optional

Bring the cranberries, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, nutmeg, cloves, and 3/4 cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Cover the mixture and allow it to simmer on medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cranberries are just beginning to burst and you notice the mixture thickening.

Add the orange zest, chopped candied ginger, and Grand Marnier and stir to combine. Simmer uncovered for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. The trick is to not allow the mixture to simmer so long that all of the cranberries are bursting or softening. You don’t want your sauce to be too mushy — I always pull it from the heat once a few cranberries begin to pop and the liquid is mostly absorbed (it will continue thickening off of the heat source as well).

Using a small spoon, scoop out the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. The cardamom pods should have lightened in color significantly and should be easy to find. Transfer the sauce to a shallow bowl and let it cool completely.

It may be made several days in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator. Best served at room temperature.

Published in: on November 29, 2013 at 6:50 am  Comments (2)  
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Thai Butternut Soup

From Cooking Light, March 2013

1 teaspoon canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 (12-ounce) packages frozen pureed butternut squash
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional toppings:
1/2 cup chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add curry paste, garlic, and ginger; sauté 45 seconds, stirring constantly.

2. Add broth and next 5 ingredients (through salt); cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Puree in the pot with an immersion blender.  Serve with toppings if desired.

Published in: on November 22, 2013 at 6:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars


Adapted from a recipe at, from Americas Favorite Food

Just the right texture and flavor.  The perfect combination of pumpkin pie and cheesecake.

2 cups Trader Joe’s chocolate cat cookies, or gingersnaps, or shortbread cookies, or other cookie of your choice, or a combination!
2 Tablespoons ground flax seed (optional)
3 Tablespoons butter, melted

2 eight oz packages of low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line an 8 inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil beynd the edges of the pan.  You’ll use these “handles” to remove the finished cheesecake from the pan so you can cut nice clean pieces.  Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the cookies in a food process and pulse until you have fine crumbs.  Drizzle in the melted butter, add the ground flax, if using, and pulse again until well mixed.  Pour into the prepared pan and press into the bottom of the pan with your fingers.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the pumpkin.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla, flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt, just until combined.

Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust.  Place the baking dish in a rimmed baking sheet.  Place in the oven.  Pour water on the baking sheet until it is nearly filled.

Bake until the cheesecake is set at the edges and barely jiggles at the center, about 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool completely.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.  If it weeps a little in the fridge, gently lay a large paper towel on the surface to absorb the water, then remove.

Store in the fridge.  To serve, pull out of the pan using the foil handles.  Using a sharp knife, cut into bars or squares.

Published in: on November 15, 2013 at 3:57 pm  Comments (1)  
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Apple Crisp

7 or 8 medium-sized Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter (or spray with cooking spray) an oblong 2-quart baking dish.  Peel apples, cut into quarters, remove cores.  Cut quarters in half lengthwise, cut into 1/4″ slices, adding them to the baking dish as you go.  Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange juice and lemon juice, and toss with your hands until completely coated.

1 cup whole wheat flour (or a combo of whole wheat and all-purpose)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup rolled oats
1.5 sticks cold butter, diced

Combine topping ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas.  Distribute evenly over the apples.  Place the dish on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly.  Serve warm with ice cream.

Published in: on November 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cider-Braised Butternut Squash Puree


from “Slow Cooker Revolution” by America’s Test Kitchen

Serves 6

1.5 lb (1 small-med) butternut squash
1/4 cup apple cider
salt & pepper
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
1 Tablespoon brown sugar

Wash, peel, seed and cut squash into 1″ cubes.  (The peel is very thick, so if you’re using a vegetable peeler you’ll probably have to do two passes.) Combine squash, cider and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a slow cooker, cover and cook until tender, 4-6 hrs on low.  (Or cook on stove:  bring to simmer, then turn heat to low, shaking pan occasionally.)

Mash squash thoroughly with potato masher. Stir in butter, heavy cream and brown sugar.

Can continue to warm puree on low for another 2 hrs. Loosen with additional hot cider as needed before serving.

Season with additional brown sugar, salt, and pepper to taste.

NOTES: Try 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Stir, and let puree warm for 10 minutes, before adding more seasoning.

Published in: on March 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Creamed Onions

1/3 cup dry white vermouth
2 Tb cornstarch blended in a small bowl with 2 Tb milk
1  1/2  cups heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
White pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese

24 oz. boiler onions (or two jars)

Heat a large pot of water with a pasta insert to boiling.  Prepare a large bowl of ice water.  Blanch larger onions for 3 minutes, smaller ones for 2 minutes.  Remove insert from pot and place onions in ice water to cool.  Drain.  Trim off the root end with a sharp knife (don’t cut off too much!).  Snip off the other end with kitchen scissors.  Remove the skin by squeezing or peeling. Put larger onions back in insert and put it back in the hot water and simmer gently for 3 minutes.  then add the rest of the onions and simmer until tender.

If you are lucky enough to find jarred or canned onions, the sauce recipe can easily handle two cans of onions. Drain onion liquid into a container: you may need some of it to thin the sauce.

Put vermouth in a small saucepan and boil rapidly until reduced to 1 tablespoon. Remove from heat; stir in the cornstarch mixture, cream, salt & pepper. Put back on the burner over medium heat and simmer, stirring until beginning to thicken, then add the cheese and stir until completely blended and thickened.

Combine the onions and sauce in small casserole dish. Try not to swoon.  (If making ahead, stop here, let cool, cover and refrigerate.  Before serving, let sit at room temperature for one hour before heating.)  Heat covered in low (325ish) oven for approx. 30 minutes.

Can be reheated in the microwave, covered, on lowest power, in 60-second increments.  Do not overheat or the sauce will separate, which would be very sad.

Mushrooms, Spinach & Very Special Onions

***Aunt Nellie’s Holland Style Whole Onions are often available at Nob Hill Foods

Published in: on November 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sugared Cranberries

It takes a little time to roll them in sugar but it’s worth it.  The contrast between the tart cranberries and sugary coating of these Sugared Cranberries makes the flavor of this holiday snack pop in your mouth. The berries are steeped in hot sugar syrup to tame their tangy bite. When entertaining, serve these in place of nuts. For gift-giving, package in parchment-lined tins. Present with a small bottle of the reserved cranberry cooking syrup for the recipient to use as a cocktail mixer.

Yield:  9 servings (serving size: about 1/3 cup)

2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
2 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup superfine sugar

Combine granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring mixture until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer; remove from heat. (Do not boil or the cranberries may pop when added.) Stir in cranberries; pour mixture into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Drain cranberries on a wire rack over a sheet pan, reserving steeping liquid, if desired. Let sit for 30-60 minutes until sticky and drier.  Place sugar in half of a shallow dish. Place the cranberries a few at a time in the unsugared section of the dish and roll them into the sugar to coat.  (If you get too much syrup in the sugar it gets all gloppy.)  Spread sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature 1 hour or until dry.

Note: The steeping liquid clings to the berries and helps the sugar adhere. Store uncovered in a cool place for up to a week.

CALORIES 118 (0.0% from fat); FAT 0.0g (sat 0.0g,mono 0.0g,poly 0.0g); IRON 0.1mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 30.4g; SODIUM 0.0mg; PROTEIN 0.1g; FIBER 0.9g

Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2003

Published in: on December 27, 2010 at 7:58 am  Comments (1)  

To try: Layered Mashed Potato & Mushroom Casserole

From EatingWell:  November/December 2009Fancy up regular mashed potatoes with a layer of mushroom duxelle—a sauté of finely chopped mushrooms and shallots. We omitted the traditional butter in the duxelle and added chard for a nutritional boost. Serve this hearty side in place of mashed potatoes at any holiday feast or enjoy it as a vegetarian main dish.

12 servings, about 3/4 cup each | Active Time: 1 hour 20 minutes | Total Time: 2 hours


  • 3 1/2 pounds potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds cremini or white mushrooms, halved
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg white, beaten
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 cups trimmed and finely chopped chard or spinach
  • 1 cup mushroom broth or reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided


  1. Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a large pot. Place potatoes in a steamer basket, cover and steam over medium-low heat, replenishing the water as necessary, until the potatoes are fall-apart tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, working in two batches, place mushrooms in a food processor and pulse, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until the mushrooms are coarsely chopped.
  3. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Add butter and mash until chunky-smooth. Gradually stir in buttermilk, egg and egg white and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they release their liquid and the pan is almost dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Add chard (or spinach) and continue to cook, stirring, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Whisk broth and flour in a small bowl. Add to the pan along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper and rosemary. Cook, stirring, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 1 minute.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  6. To assemble, spread half of the mashed potatoes in an even layer in a 9-by-13-inch (or similar 3-quart) baking dish. Sprinkle half the Parmesan over the potatoes. Spread the mushroom mixture on top and spread the remaining potatoes over the mushroom layer. Top with the remaining Parmesan.
  7. Bake until hot throughout and the top is golden brown, about 35 minutes.


196 Calories; 5 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 2 g Mono; 26 mg Cholesterol; 32 g Carbohydrates; 8 g Protein; 3 g Fiber; 438 mg Sodium; 773 mg Potassium2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fat

Nutrition Note: Potassium (22% daily value), Vitamin A & Vitamin C (20% dv).

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Assemble through Step 6, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bake, uncovered, in a 400°F oven until hot, 50 minutes to 1 hour. To reheat, bake, covered, at 350° until hot, 40 to 50 minutes.
Published in: on December 23, 2010 at 7:58 am  Leave a Comment