Gravey and Rice

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


It was difficult for me to decide that I was actually going to DO Thanksgiving this year. Last year I felt like my British inlaws just didn't get it, and I pushed myself to hard and ended up messing up one dish (burned Sweet Potatoes) and not having time to complete 3 others. The kitchen was trashed, instead of a proper Thanksgiving, everyone just ate and then converged on my kitchen to wash up, and then left. Needless to say I was in tears, dissappointed and homesick.

But, I'm American and Thanksgiving is part of my identity- it would be, in a way, wrong to skip it, Besides I don't want my kids to lose this part of their heritage, the American part- and Thanksgiving is apart of that. So, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and suck it up to try again. The only thing missing this year will be the British inlaws.

My menu is this:

Butternut Squash Soup
Herbed Roast Turkey
Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
Mom's Vegetable Medley
Roasted Glazed Parsnips and Carrots
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes w/ Leeks and Chives
Crescent Rolls
Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Pie

Last year I did Cauliflower soup as a starter which was delicious and well received, but this year I'd like something a bit more seasonal- so I'm trying the Butternut Squash Soup innstead...Fingers crossed!

Also this year I'm going to take it slowly, do things one at a time, and try to make a few dishes the day before and just add the finishing touches on the actual day. One struggle will be keeping the kitchen clean, I can clean as I go when I'm making small dishes or things I've made a hundred times before. But when preparing a big meal, I tend to use every dish in the house, and things stack up quick!

My Mom's Vegetable Medley

A Thanksgiving and Christmas staple in my house- I hated it growing up, it was only a few years ago that I sucked it up and tried it again, only to discover it was DELICIOUS. Just goes to show...

1 16oz. pkg. frozen Broccoli and Cauliflower (or fresh- whatever)
1 lg. onion chopped
4 tbsp butter or marg.
1 can cream of Chicken Soup
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups croutons

1. Thaw veg and saute w/ onions in 3 tbsp. butter, about 3 minutes. Add soup and sour cream, mix well. Add 1 cup croutons, mix.

2. Pour into buttered 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish (or whatever you have thats big enough) Heat remaining croutons in 1 tbsp. butter, until coated and sprinkle over the casserole.

3. Bake at 350f (250c, gas 5) about 30 min. or until bubbly.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Chicken Cacciatore

For dinner tonight I decided to try a new recipe for Chicken Cacciatore, courtesy of the folks over at, a fantastic website.

This recipes differs quite a bit from my moms recipe from her old Panasonic cookbook, the recipe bible in my house growing up. That recipe used 3 different kinds of chopped tomatoes and canned mushrooms. It was always slightly sweet and always delicious.

This new recipe called for Red Wine, Portabello mushrooms and only one can of chopped tomatoes.

I don't get on with red wine in my cooking very well, though so far I have only made a gravy with it, the red wine turned it purply and created a very strong, unpleasant taste, thus far noone has liked it. So, I'm wary of cooking with red wine.

First I browned the Chicken thighs in about 3 tablespoons oil. This worked very well, 5 minutes on each side, with a very minimal amount of sticking. When it came time to peel the cooked skins off the chicken, they came right off, no problem.

I sauteed the onion and mushroom in a bit more oil then it specified, as I normally use a bit more oil. In this case it seemed to be a mistake as the oil didn't cook away and when I should have had nicely browned veggies with just a smidge of oil left, I had sopping wet veg in a pool of oil. I drained them the best I could and when I added the flour, gave it a bit longer to cook, but that didnt seem to help.

Upon adding the wine the whole mixture just turned gloppy and purple... Adding the chicken broth seemed to help slightly, and again when I added another 1/2 cup of water.

After 45 minutes of simmering it smelled delicious, and the terrible wine order that I experienced with the gravey was not present.

That evening I was able to try some, I made some spaghetti and mixed it all together. I was actually quite surprised by how good it is. It wasn't delicious, and I didnt want any more. But it WAS good. I split the leftovers with the baby for lunch the next day, and we both quite enjoyed it. His was pureed, of course.

Will definetly make this again, but I may experiment a bit with it....

8 bone in chicken thighs (about 3 pounds), trimmed of excess fat
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion , chopped
6 ounces portobello mushroom caps (about 3 medium), wiped clean and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
4 medium cloves garlic , minced
1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes , drained
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 piece Parmesan cheese rind (2 inches, about 1 ounce), optional
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage leaves

If you can get hold of a Parmesan cheese rind, it adds lavish flavor to the sauce.

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes. Add four chicken thighs, skin-side down, and cook, not moving them until skin is crisp and well browned, about 5 minutes; using tongs, flip chicken and brown on second side, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer browned chicken to large plate; brown remaining chicken thighs, transfer to plate, and set aside.

2. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot. Add onion, mushrooms, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; sauté over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until moisture evaporates and vegetables begin to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, remove and discard skin from browned chicken thighs. Add garlic to pot and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add wine, scraping pot bottom with wooden spoon to loosen brown bits. Stir in stock, tomatoes, thyme, cheese rind (if using), 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit salt if using cheese rind), and pepper to taste. Submerge chicken pieces in liquid and bring to boil; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until chicken is tender and cooked through, about 45 minutes, turning chicken pieces with tongs halfway through cooking. Discard cheese rind, stir in sage, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, and serve

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Been awhile...

Well, it's been ages since I've posted anything here. I admit that. I have to say that somewhere around week 2 after moving into the new house, I made a bitchin' Peach Crisp. It was warm, it was peachy, it was sweet and crispy. It was SO good, I spent a hour blogging about it and I even posted the recipe. Only to click "publish" and have it DISA-BLOODY-PEAR on me. GONE. Nowhere to be found.

So, since then I've been a bit bitter and pissed off and havent blogged about the yummy pineapple upside down cake, the oh so good Pear Crisp, or the Bananna Orange bread, etc.

But, all thats behind me now, and I'm back. Settled in, and finally able to find stuff in the kitchen without threatening various children with blunt objects.

I've been doing some cleaning up, removing bad links (Oh, Very Good Things- you are missed) and adding a Technorati profile, etc. And I'll soon start posting about my baking again.

My aim is to include pictures of everything I bake, and the recipe, and to post at least 3 times a week!

So, if anyone still bothers to check out my blog- thanks and I'm back!