Cinnamon Ice Cream has been churned and pumpkin cheesecake is chilling in the fridge. Ted will start making rolls shortly from a handful of ingredients that somehow become more than the sum of their parts. We’ll be heading to my brother’s house later today to enjoy the company of family and friends. We’ll eat some turkey, and too many sides. The children will somehow not run out of steam. It’s Thanksgiving Day.
I started putting menus and recipes online simply as a reference for myself. Along the way folks have found this blog (or its predecessor) and decided to follow along. Thank you for the interest. Enjoy your day, however you spend it.
Winter squash is a staple for us once the weather turns cold and the fresh local vegetables are no longer available. When I have time, and forethought, this is my preferred method of preparing it.
Pureed Butternut Squash
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes (plus drain time, see below)
- 3.5 # pounds butternut squash, split in half lengthwise, seeded
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment.
- Rub the cut side of the butter squash, including the hollow created when removing the seeds, with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Place cut side down on the baking pan.
- Cover tightly with foil and bake until a paring knife slides easily into the thickest part of the squash, 30-40 minutes.
- Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool until you are comfortable holding it.
- Once the squash is cool enough to touch remove the skin (or scoop the squash from the skin) and place the squash into the bowl of a food processor. Run the food processor until the squash is smooth.
- Transfer to a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl and allow whatever liquid that can escape to do so for as long as you can let it. Discard the liquid and reheat the squash double boiler style. Season as desired.
Letting the excess liquid drain from the pureed squash leaves behind a more intensely flavored product.
If serving as a standalone side dish may I suggest melting 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh sage, stir until aromatic and then add to the squash. Mix to combine and serve.
Squash prepared in this manner can be kept up to 2 days in the refrigerator before using. If you want to save it for longer I recommend freezing it in a screw-top plastic container or zipper style plastic bag.
Cinnamon Ice Cream has become a Thanksgiving tradition for our extended family. It goes great with the ubiquitous apple pie. Of course it stands all by itself as well.
Cinnamon Ice Cream
Servings: makes 1 quart plus of ice cream
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes (plus time for the ice cream base to cool)
- Microwave butter with cinnamons and cayenne on high for a few seconds at a time until bubbling. Mix to combine and let cool completely.
- Mix 1/2 cup sugar with heavy cream, milk and scraped vanilla pod (including seeds) in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat once it begins to boil.
- While the dairy heats whisk the cooled butter/spice mixture with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and the egg yolks until pale and slightly increased in volume.
- Temper the eggs by whisking the eggs while slowly adding a small amount of dairy and incorporating it. Add only a tablespoon at a time at first. As the egg temperature rises you can add a bit more dairy. Add tempered eggs to the rest of the dairy and return the pan to the heat. Whisk constantly until slightly thickened. When it just reaches the boil remove the vanilla pod and drain through a fine mesh strainer.
- Cool to room temperature and then place it in the refrigerator to cool completely (overnight is best). Finish following your ice cream makers directions.
We use this ice cream maker. Once you make the ice cream base (that’s what the above recipe gives you, a base), assemble the various parts, turn on the ice cream machine, pour the base into the freezer bowl and let thicken. It’ll take 15-20 minutes for the base to turn into a soft-serve consistency ice cream.
For best results stash the newly made ice cream in the freeze for at least a day; three or four would be even better.
When after work energy is low and we want to stay in I reach for staples always have on hand plus whatever is sitting in the produce drawer. Tonight the produce drawer of wonder yielded a poblano pepper.
Chorizo, Chickpeas and Rice
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
- 1 lb. chorizo, quartered lengthwise, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 sm. yellow onion, 1/4″ dice
- 1 poblano pepper, cut lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/4″ strips
- 1 lg. clove garlic, peeled and halved
- 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
- 1 15.5 oz. can low-sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1.5 cups white rice
- 3 cups chicken broth
- kosher salt and pepper
- Heat a heavy bottomed dutch oven over high heat. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to the pan and heat until it shimmers. Add the chopped chorizo. Stir to coat with oil and cook for about 5 minutes to render a bit of the delicious red fat. Transfer chorizo to a dish and cover with foil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Check how much fat you have in the pan; if it is less than 1 Tbsp. then add a bit. Add the onions and poblano along with a pinch of kosher salt. Stir and cook until the onions become a bit translucent; about 3 minutes. Add the garlic; stir until aromatic. Add the paprika and stir into the onion, peppers and garlic.
- Add another tablespoon of oil and the rice. Stir the rice into the mixture in the pot. Allow the rice to toast for about 1 minute, give it a good stir and toast the rice again for 1 minute. Do this a couple of more times until the rice starts to turn from white to slightly brown.
- Add the chickpeas and chicken broth. Stir, scrape rice from the sides of the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
- Check the rice for tenderness. It should be soft and not at all chewy. Cook it a minute or two longer if necessary.
- Return the cooked chorizo to the pan. Stir to combine; season with additional salt and black pepper to taste.
Chorizo is a Portuguese sausage made with paprika. It goes by a variety of spellings – chorizo, chourico, chourizo and variations there of. It can range from mild to hot to blow your ears off. I grew up eating the stuff at my grandmother’s house.
We eat a lot of chicken thighs in this house. We prefer the flavor over chicken breast. Often they end up braised or grilled to add a bit more flavor to them. For this recipe I wanted something very quick to assemble and cook.
Baked Chicken Thighs
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 110 minutes (including a 60 minute rest)
- 16 chicken thighs (approx. ~7 lbs.)
- 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp. cracked black pepper
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Arrange the racks in the oven so that one is in the middle and the second is half way between the top and middle. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line to baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Trim the thighs of excess skin and fat. In a large bowl toss the thighs with the salt & pepper.
- Add the lemon zest, juice and olive oil to the bowl with the seasoned chicken. Toss with hands to coat well. Cover the bowl and allow it to rest, on the counter, for 1 hour.
- Place the thighs, skin side down on the baking sheets; 8 to a pan, . Place the chicken in the oven. Cook for 25 minutes; swapping pan locations half way through the cooking time.
- Turn the thighs skin side up and bake for another 10 minutes. Again, swap the pan locations half way through the cooking time.
- Check the temperature of the thighs with an instant-read thermometer. If the chicken has hit 160-165°F move on to the next step. If it is lower than 160°F then let the chicken bake for another few minutes and check again.
- Turn on the broiler and increase the oven to 450°F. Cook the first pan of chicken under the broiler for about 3 minutes, rotating the pan half way through for even browning. When the thighs are nice browned remove the first pan to a cooling rack and repeat the broiling with the second pan of chicken.
- Loosely cover the chicken with foil and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
There’s no need to use extra virgin olive oil here; the flavor will be lost in the heat of the oven.
The parchment serves 2 purposes; it keeps the chicken from sticking to the pan and it aids in clean-up. A silicon mat would work as well; you’ll just have to wash all the chicken fat off it (ick).
The genesis of this menu was something I made last month for a weeknight dinner.I think the meal worked out well.
Baked Chicken Thighs
Potato Gnocchi with Parmesan and Butter
Swiss Chard and Beans
Meringues with Pears, Chocolate Sauce and Whipped Cream
Notes under the cut
A third of our regular group was missing this week making for a slightly simpler menu than usual. So, of course, I decided to try 2 new dishes just to keep things interesting.
French-style Pork Pot Roast
Roasted Parmesan Paprika Potatoes
Rutabaga and Carrots with Honey-Whiskey Glaze
Homemade chocolate pudding
Notes under the cut
Cooler weather lends itself to warm soup. Below is a basic vegetable soup recipe that I’ve turned to over the years. It is easy to extend with additional vegetables and while it is vegetarian there’s no reason it can’t become the base for some meated creation.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled, 1/4″ dice
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (divided)
- kosher salt & cracked black pepper
- 1 lb. carrots, 1/4″ dice
- 1 bunch celery hearts, 1/4″ dice
- 1.5 lbs. red onions, 1/4″ dice
- 5 qt. vegetable broth
- 1 qt. water
- 1 16 oz. box bow tie pasta
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss sweet potato cubes, 1 Tbsp. oil, a healthy pinch of salt & 1/2 tsp. black pepper together until sweet potatoes are evenly covered with oil and seasonings. Spread on a rimmed baking pan and bake until just tender (~30 minutes). Set aside.
- In a large soup pot saute the carrots, celery and onion in the remaining oil until the onions become translucent. Add the broth and water; bring to a boil. Drop to a simmer and cook for ~30 minutes.
- About 20 minutes before eating turn the heat back up to high. Once at a boil add the pasta and cook per the instructions on the box. When the pasta is done to your likeness add the added the roasted sweet potatoes to the soup. Reheat potatoes if necessary and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
We had some vegetable broth in the freezer so I used that for this recipe. That said I often use Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base. Just add a tablespoon of the concentrate to a quart of hot water and you’re ready to roll.
I decided to make a fairly simple menu with week. Everything could have been cooked in the hour before our friends arrived. I made the chili a couple of hours early so it could simmer on the stove to blend and meld flavors.
Notes under the cut