Thanksgiving Sides – Cranberry Compote and Oyster Cornbread Dressing

Recipes in this PostCranberry-Riesling Compote Recipe adapted from Bryan Voltaggio, Range, Washington, D.C.

This year, like last year, I’m going to my friend’s for Thanksgiving, and like last year, I’m bringing something. It’s also my son, Spane’s birthday today, November 21, 2012, and he has requested Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting I made for his 7th birthday party. Since his birthday this year is the day before Thanksgiving, he is going to have his birthday party in December – so watch for recipes!

I have talked about going to my Grandmother’s house and wonderful turkey that came out of her Nesco Roaster. My Grandmother always had the best dressing on her table, that my Aunt Flora made every year. It was Oyster Cornbread Dressing, and it is my favorite dressing to prepare.

But, we always had canned cranberry sauce, that I really never liked. I have been making cranberry sauce for years, but today I found a new recipe that I’m going to make this year. It’s from Chef Bryan Voltaggio.

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Baked Julia Apples

Recipes in this PostBaked Julia Apples

I used to love watching Julia Child on The French Chef when it was on Saturday afternoons on my local PBS station. I think Julia Child kind of reminded me of my mother, they were both tall, loved to talk, and were never afraid to take anything head on. My mother was a good cook, taught me the basics, and let me prepare meals when I was 10. Sadly, my mother died when I was 15, but left me in the capable hands of my Aunt Georgia, Grandmother, and Julia Child.

Today would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday, and I thought I should share a recipe which is inspired by Baked Alaska Apples that I watched Julia make on the show.

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Chicken a la King – Weber Style

Recipes in this PostChicken a la King

I really like watching America’s Test Kitchen, and follow them on Facebook. So, when they announced a Kitchen Challenge to make Chicken à la King, I just had to take up the challenge. What makes my Chicken a la King different? Well, it’s barbecue season, and my Weber was sitting outside, crying that it couldn’t join in the fun. I thought to myself, why not? Pimentos are nothing more than very mild chili peppers. I had some lovely yellow, orange and red sweet peppers, and I had some mushrooms and shallots. I also had a chicken breast. All those could go on the grill, couldn’t they? Sure, they could get a lot of flavor to add to a dish that I already really like.

The America’s Test Kitchen challenge is to cook like it’s 1917. Charcoal was developed from waste wood scrap in the Ford Motor Company in 1920, and renamed Kingsford thereafter. Kingsford was a relative of Henry Ford. The Weber grill was not invented until the 1960s but I’m sure that people were barbecuing in some sort of fashion in 1917 – how else would Henry Ford have been able to sell charcoal? I think I’m okay with the time-line, don’t you?

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Leftover Madness – French Onion Soup, Shrimp Scampi, Ham and Cheese Panini

The past few days have been full of left overs. That’s a good thing, and a good way to save money, but you have to get creative.

When I made the Veal Marsala Meatballs, I made enough to freeze some for another time. Spane and I were at the market on Thursday, and I was thinking of making enchiladas, but Spane didn’t seem to enthusiastic about it, so I asked him if he wanted spaghetti and meatballs, and he said yes.

I had everything I needed to make it, the veal meatballs, a large can of diced tomatoes, basil and garlic. The only thing I needed to make a good meal was a baguette of French bread to make garlic bread to go with our pasta, so I bought a long baguette. It was large enough that I cut it in half and made my garlic butter, intending to make another half on Friday. I bought some large frozen shrimp to have on Friday.

I served the meatballs separately from the pasta, and we ate all of those, and the garlic bread. There was still spaghetti and sauce left over. I had made enough garlic butter for both halves of the bread, and had left the left over in the refrigerator.

I took some of the garlic butter, put it in a pan, and heated the shrimp in that garlic butter. By doing that, I didn’t have quite enough garlic butter for the other half of the baguette, so I added a little olive oil and balsamic butter, whirred it around, spread that on the bread, topped it with a little Parmesan cheese, and threw it in the oven for a few minutes.

We ate all the shrimp Scampi, and all the spaghetti and sauce, and were a little to stuffed to finish the garlic bread.

So, now I had left over balsamic garlic bread. Today, Saturday, was cold and rainy, so soup sounded like the perfect meal. Originally, I was going to make macaroni and cheese as an excuse to turn on Bertha, but grilled cheese sandwiches sounded like a better idea.

What kind of soup could I make and use up the left over garlic bread? Why French Onion, of course. That is such a simple soup to make, and is really fool-proof.

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Rosemary Garlic Chicken Purses with Lavendar Mustard Dipping Sauce

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Cream Cheese Purse with Lavender Mustard Sauce

I graduated from Immaculate Heart High School in 1975. Okay, so now you know how old I am! I have not gone to any of the reunions, and had not heard from any of my former classmates until I found a bunch of them on Facebook.

When I was in high school, one of my best friends was Libby. She lives in another state, and we have been corresponding on Facebook for a while. She said she was coming into Glendale to visit her mother and suggested we get together. Her mother lives a block from Spane’s school. What a coincidence! I haven’t seen her in 36 years, and today, we are going to the park and have a reunion picnic. I am so excited!

Libby has been liking my recipes on Facebook for a while, and even asked me if I remembered making a lemon pie that she liked so much. I decided that she deserved to have a special lunch, so these are thing things I have made:

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Shabby Chic Country Apple Raisin Crostata

A few weeks ago, I bought a package of dried apples at the local Armenian store, just to have as a snack for Spane. It’s beginning to get cold again, so I’ve been thinking about baking. I already made Apple Brown Betty that turned out a little too brown because I should have removed one of the racks in Bertha. I thought of making a Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting, but it got too hot to do that. So, today, I’m still thinking about baking something when I remember about the dried apples.

I also had one single pie crust left over from when I made the Scrambled Burger Quiche.

Chef Farion was visiting today, so I laid the apples and the pie crust on the counter, and I said, “I’ve got this and this. What do you think?” He gave me the inspiration for a Crostada .

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