16 November 2017

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth - The Perfect Make-and-Take Side

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth - The Perfect Make-and-Take Side / www.delightfulrepast.com

Turkey Gravy is the highlight of any turkey dinner. Whether you're hosting a turkey dinner or doing a make-and-take side for dinner at someone else's house, you can be in charge of the gravy!

I know turkey gravy is not thought of as a bring-a-dish item, but check with your hosts. A lot of people don't like making gravy (or make terrible gravy!) and might welcome the idea. You could be a hero!

If you've never made the gravy ahead of time, you're going to thank me for this. It's the only way to go when you've got a dozen things on the menu, some of which need doing at the last minute. 

You know what I'm talking about. The classic mashed potatoes are mashed at the last minute, the dinner rolls are heated at the last minute, so many things to see to. By the time you sit down at the table, you're just done! 

But you can get the turkey broth and gravy done well in advance. You'll have enough broth for stuffing/dressing as well as gravy. Just freeze both until a day or two before you need them. If you make it two or three days ahead, just refrigerate it.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth - The Perfect Make-and-Take Side / www.delightfulrepast.com
 Don't forget to Pin it!

(You can make the Cranberry Sauce two days ahead. Try it! You'll never go back to canned!)

Though it's made with just 2 pounds of turkey, the gravy tastes wonderful. But, if you want added flavor or want to increase the amount of gravy, when you take your turkey out of the pan on the big day, combine the pan drippings (minus the fat) and make-ahead gravy for added oomph.

About the
broth: I'm a huge fan of store-bought organic free-range low-sodium chicken broth, but NOT for anything to do with a turkey dinner. You MUST make turkey broth, whether this way or with the neck, etc, on the day you roast the turkey, or both.

Do you like to make things ahead or do it all on the day? My mother always did pretty much everything on the day, but she was made of sterner stuff. I have to stretch it out!

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth - The Perfect Make-and-Take Side / www.delightfulrepast.com

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

(Makes about 4 cups)

The Turkey

2 turkey drumsticks* (about 2 pounds/0.91 kg total)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dry sherry plus enough water to make 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml)

* Other parts might work, too, but I've only ever used drumsticks as they are more readily available where I shop.

The Broth

The Turkey, cooked
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
2 medium carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
4 medium celery stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces
Handful of fresh parsley
1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 1/2 quarts (80 fluid ounces/2.36 litres) water

The Gravy

1/3 dip-and-sweep cup (1.67 ounces/47 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
4 cups (32 fluid ounces/946 ml) of The Broth

1 Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Lightly oil (about 1/2 teaspoon) a heavy-duty quarter sheet pan. Pat the drumsticks dry and place them in the prepared pan. Sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper. Roast for 60 to 70 minutes. Sixty minutes would probably be enough, but I like to get maximum brown bits in the roasting pan.

Note: If you don't see lots of brown in your pan after 70 minutes, let it go longer. This is a crucial step. Just be sure you don't let it burn.

2 Transfer the drumsticks to a 5-quart pot (I use a Le Creuset 5.5-quart round French oven); set aside for the moment.

3 Place the roasting pan on the stove and pour in the liquid a little at a time, stirring and scraping up the browned bits. When pan is completely deglazed, pour the liquid into a jar, bowl or 1-cup glass measure; refrigerate. You'll see from the photo that I ended up with about 1/4 cup of fat, which is perfect!

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth - The Perfect Make-and-Take Side / www.delightfulrepast.com

4 Add vegetables and seasonings to the pot, along with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer with lid slightly ajar for 4 hours, checking liquid level after second and third hours and adding more water only if needed.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth - The Perfect Make-and-Take Side / www.delightfulrepast.com

5 Strain the broth into a 2-quart glass measure. You will have 6 to 8 cups of broth.

6 Transfer your refrigerated pan drippings to a 2-quart saucepan and begin heating. Add flour to pan drippings and cook, whisking or stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

7 Add about 1/2 cup of the stock and whisk briskly until very smooth, then add remaining broth. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently, until the gravy thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

8 Leave the gravy as is or strain into a 4-cup glass measure. Pour it into a 6-cup glass freezer container. Let cool a bit at room temperature, refrigerate until cold, then freeze until the day before you want to serve it.

9 The day before you want to use it, transfer the gravy from freezer to refrigerator. Reheat the thawed gravy, combining it with the defatted pan drippings for even more flavor.

Disclosure: Some posts contain links to my affiliate account at Amazon. If you purchase something from Amazon through one of my links, I receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, which I use toward the expenses of running this blog. Thanks for supporting Delightful Repast whenever you start your Amazon shopping from one of my links!

09 November 2017

Chocolate-Hazelnut Roulade - Naturally Gluten-Free

Chocolate- Hazelnut Roulade or Swiss Roll - Naturally Gluten-Free (and Nutella-Free!) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Many autumn tables will be featuring a pumpkin roll, that American classic. But in case you are “pumpkined out” or would just like to offer guests an alternate dessert, I thought I’d post this naturally gluten-free and pumpkin-free hazelnut roulade or Swiss roll.

You will definitely need a half-sheet pan for this cake. Don't attempt it in a smaller rimmed baking sheet or it will overflow. It makes quite a long roll, so I cut it to fit the serving plate I wanted to use, then cut the first servings from the "spare" roll.

As you know, my freezer is my best friend, so I cut two slices and froze them in my favorite glass storage containers so I could tell you how well it works. Just thawed them out at room temperature and had a slice. Perfection! Now I need to bake another one and see how well the whole roll freezes.

If you like, fancy it up even more with frosting. But I like to keep things as low-sugar as possible, so no frosting for me. For more cake-roll tips, check out my Raspberry Swiss Roll post. Do you like rolled cakes? 

Chocolate-Hazelnut Roulade or Swiss Roll - Naturally Gluten-Free (and Nutella-Free!) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Chocolate-Hazelnut Roulade

(Makes 12 to 16 servings)

Adapted from an Almond Roll recipe at King Arthur Flour

The Cake

1 3/4 lightly packed cups (7 ounces/198 grams) hazelnut flour or finely ground hazelnuts
1 tablespoon non-GMO cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons non-GMO baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
9 large eggs, separated cold, left at room temperature for 30 minutes
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup (7 ounces/198 grams) sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The Filling

1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces/355 ml) heavy whipping cream
1/4 firmly packed cup (1 ounce/28 grams) unsifted powdered sugar
1/4 packed cup (0.75 ounce/21 grams) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
3 tablespoons (1.5 fluid ounces/44 ml) Frangelico or other hazelnut liqueur

1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Line an 18x13x1-inch half-sheet pan with a piece of parchment with an extra 2 inches on each end for easy removal. Spray parchment and sides of pan with cooking spray. In small bowl, whisk together hazelnut flour, baking powder and half the salt.

2 In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and half the salt on low speed until foamy (might have to use a spoon to mash up clump of cream of tartar). Increase speed to medium and continue beating until trails become visible and bubbles are very small, about 2 to 3 minutes.

3 Increase speed to medium-high and gradually add in 1/2 cup of sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, taking about 2 to 3 minutes. Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy and medium* peaks form when the whisk is lifted, about 4 to 5 minutes.

* Must beat past soft peaks, but not all the way to stiff peaks.

4 In a 2.5- to 3-quart mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg yolks with remaining 1/2 cup sugar until pale yellow and fluffy; this takes a few minutes, perhaps 4 or 5. Add the vanilla extract.

5 Give the hazelnut flour mixture another whisking and sprinkle it over the egg yolk mixture. With silicone spatula, gently fold the flour in. Then gently fold in the medium-stiff egg whites, a third at a time, being careful not to deflate them.

6 Gently scrape the batter into the prepared half-sheet pan and quickly spread it evenly. Place a towel (or pair of potholders) on the countertop and drop the pan onto it from a height of about 6 inches two or three times to get out the large air bubbles that would make holes in the cake.

7 Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, just until done. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean; the cake should spring back a bit when pressed gently in the center.

8 Use a knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan. Using the two ends of parchment paper, lift the cake out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool for a bit.

9 When the cake is nearly cool, make the filling. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and cocoa. In medium bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks, sift the powdered sugar and cocoa over the cream and stir until incorporated. Continue whipping the cream until it is quite stiff. Fold in the liqueur.

10 Transfer the cake, still paper-side down, from the wire rack onto the counter with a long side in front of you. Spread the filling evenly over the cake, leaving about a 1.5-inch border at the far side uncovered.

11 Start rolling the cake at the long side nearest you, peeling away the parchment as you go. Place on tray seam-side down and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.

12 When ready to serve, trim the ends of the roll for a tidier look (and a cook's treat!), place it on an attractive platter, dust with powdered sugar, garnish as you like. Cut into 1- to 1.5-inch slices.

Disclosure: Some posts contain links to my affiliate account at Amazon. If you purchase something from Amazon through one of my links, I receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, which I use toward the expenses of running this blog. Thanks for supporting Delightful Repast whenever you start your Amazon shopping from one of my links!

02 November 2017

Chili Verde - Chile Verde - Green Chili - Cerdo en Salsa Verde

Chili Verde - Chile Verde - Green Chili - Cerdo en Salsa Verde / www.delightfulrepast.com

With a title like that, can you tell I'm a little undecided on the proper name? Chili Verde? Chile Verde? They both have their proponents.

It had been decades since I'd made chili verde, then a couple months ago I helped with a big Mexican lunch for a group of volunteers. I made a big steam table pan of Mexican rice and a new friend brought chili verde, which I ended up serving, and the smell of it right there in front of me was making me drool!

It took a while for Gloria to get the recipe to me, so in the meantime I consulted my friend Julia (of the rice) who told me how her family makes it. And eventually I dug up my own recipe from decades ago. And what I've come up with here is a hodgepodge of all three.

Gloria's recipe didn't include green chiles, Julia's recipe did not include tomatillos, and my old recipe called for roasting fresh tomatillos and chiles and putting them in the blender.

Well, that was all well and good back in the day. But then Muir Glen began making organic crushed tomatillos in jars and I got addicted to the stuff. And would have used it in this recipe if they hadn't discontinued the product! Please join me in begging them to resume production!

Muir Glen, please please please bring back the organic crushed tomatillos in 23-ounce jars.

There's nothing on the market like it, so I decided to use a combination of fresh tomatillos and a tomatillo salsa. Of course, the tomatillo salsa, unlike the Muir Glen, contains lots of other stuff, too; so that changed everything.

Chili Verde - Chile Verde - Green Chili - Cerdo en Salsa Verde / www.delightfulrepast.com

Anyway ...

If you want to make this on the stove instead of in the slow cooker, I added a little note about that in the directions below. My friends' recipes were for stovetop versions, but I wanted to come up with a slow-cooker version for those days when I just don't want to have to keep an eye on it.

No, it isn't a typo; there is no added liquid in this recipe. I even drain the chiles. Plenty of liquid forms as it cooks, and the consistency ends up being perfect, with no need to add thickeners at the end.

Are you a chili verde fan? Do you make it with just chiles, just tomatillos, or both? Buen provecho! 

Chili Verde - Chile Verde - Green Chili - Cerdo en Salsa Verde / www.delightfulrepast.com

Slow-Cooker Chili Verde

(Makes 8 servings)

1/3 cup (1.67 ounces/47 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
4 pounds* pork shoulder, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch cubes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or pork fat that you've trimmed off)
1 medium (about 12 ounces/340 grams) yellow onion, chopped
1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams - about 16) tomatillos, chopped**

1 16-ounce jar 505 Southwestern Hatch Valley tomatillo, garlic & lime green chile salsa (I wish it didn't have garlic)
1 7-ounce can diced mild green chiles, drained
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Garnish: chopped cilantro

* Pork shoulder (also called pork butt) is very fatty, so 4 pounds trims down to about 3 pounds. There's no need to trim off every bit of fat, but you will want to cut away the huge hunks.

** To get really specific, in case anyone wants to know, I cut the tomatillo in half vertically, then cut each half in half horizontally and thinly sliced it vertically.

1 In small bowl, whisk together flour, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Spread cubed pork in a single layer on rimmed baking sheet (a 15x10-inch will do nicely) and sprinkle with the seasoned flour. Dredge the meat until lightly coated on all sides.

2 In 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and brown a third of the pork. Add to slow cooker. Repeat twice with remaining pork. Brown it well, taking at least 10 minutes per batch.

3 Add remaining tablespoon of oil to skillet and cook the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. I cook the onion after the pork to deglaze the pan and not waste those delicious brown bits. Add about 2 tablespoons of water, if needed, to help along the deglazing. Add to slow cooker.

4 Add tomatillos. Sprinkle on the oregano and cumin. Add the green chile and tomatillo salsa and the chopped green chiles. Give it a bit of a stir.

Note: At this point, if I were cooking this on the stove instead of in the slow cooker, I'd add enough water (perhaps a little chicken broth as well) to cover the meat; bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, loosely covered, until tender, about 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

5 Put the lid on the slow cooker and set it for 8 hours on Low. Pull the lid off for just a moment at the 7-hour mark to taste and adjust seasoning.

6 Serve with (over or next to) Mexican rice, garnished with cilantro and maybe some sour cream and shredded cheese. And don't forget the warm flour tortillas. Or the refried beans.

26 October 2017

Travel Review - Paso Robles Wine Country - Allegretto Vineyard Resort

Travel Review - Paso Robles Wine Country - Allegretto Vineyard Resort / www.delightfulrepast.com
Cello Ristorante & Bar at dawn 

The very first morning I sense autumn in the air sets off a longing to visit wine country. Since all 50 states have some acreage in vineyard cultivation, that could be anywhere.
I first narrowed it down to California's Central Coast AVA (American Viticultural Area), which is home to hundreds of wineries and covers a vast area, then narrowed it down to a sub-region with more than 200 wineries, the Paso Robles AVA.

The Paso Robles AVA has been further subdivided into 11 AVAs that those of you interested in wine will want to look into. Not interested in wine? Stay tuned--there's more to the area than its wine.

Paso Robles is midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, about a 3 1/2- to 4-hour drive, depending on your chosen route, from both SFO (San Francisco International Airport) and LAX (Los Angeles International Airport). And you can fly into the nearby (40 minutes) San Luis Obispo airport from Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle and Denver. Don't like to fly? Amtrak stops in Paso Robles.

Next step, choosing a place to stay. There are a number of good possibilities, but one seemed most likely to fill the bill for this particular leg of our journey, which was to be a relaxing Midweek Break.

Travel Review - Paso Robles Wine Country - Allegretto Vineyard Resort / www.delightfulrepast.com
With relaxation as the ultimate goal, we needed a place that had it all--wonderful room,* pool,** spa, food, wine--a "one-stop shop" where one can park the car and forget it for a few days, finding all one's needs met onsite for nonstop relaxation. The place? Allegretto Vineyard Resort, the sort of place you can settle into and decide not to go out at all.

* Our room was spacious (425 square feet), well-appointed and pristine.

Travel Review - Paso Robles Wine Country - Allegretto Vineyard Resort / www.delightfulrepast.com
Serious swimmers like Mr Delightful appreciate the size and regular shape of the pool, while dry-hair bobbers like me are more inclined to appreciate things like thick terry cloth covers on the loungers and big, fluffy pool towels. And I'm a cabana girl!
** Another thing we appreciated about the pool is that there was no music. Once in a while we encounter a resort with music at the pool, and that is a definite no-no for us. We love music, but not necessarily someone else's choice and not at the pool! If any hotel guests want music at the pool, let them use their headphones. We preferred hearing the birds chirp!

And there's plenty to see and do, even if you have no interest in wine. We would have enjoyed the Pioneer Museum, but it's only open Thursday through Sunday. And there's horseback riding, zip line tours, a water park, craft breweries and distilleries (we prefer wine), all sorts of things we didn't manage to drag ourselves out for. The charming downtown is walkable and so fun!
As my regular readers have probably gathered, I am very particular about where I stay; and the way I can find flaws would make me the ideal person for any hotelier to hire to have me point out the error of his ways. The hotel we chose, Allegretto Vineyard Resort, disappointed me in that regard--I had nothing to complain about!
The Mediterranean-inspired Allegretto has a laid-back vibe, something I call refined rusticity. If you like the convenience of free valet parking, they have that. If you prefer to park it yourself, as we do, you can do that too. If you want help with your luggage, they have that. If you travel light, as we do, assistance isn't forced upon you.

This property is a labor of love for its owner-creator whose personal collection of art and artifacts spanning multiple centuries and cultures is seen throughout the resort, inside and out. The focal point of the Piazza Magica is a fountain with a natural sandstone formation at its center.

Travel Review - Paso Robles Wine Country - Allegretto Vineyard Resort / www.delightfulrepast.com

Besides the acres of vineyards and olive trees, the gardens make for beautiful views everywhere you look.

Travel Review - Paso Robles Wine Country - Allegretto Vineyard Resort / www.delightfulrepast.com
This garden path on the left side of the hotel leads to the little Abbaye de Lerins, barely visible through the fog. I only got to enjoy the brief early-morning fog because I got up early to watch the sunrise over the vineyard. 

We never dined on the patio, but I couldn't help noticing the whimsical patio heaters that look like giant lamps. Cute and tasteful!

Travel Review - Paso Robles Wine Country - Allegretto Vineyard Resort / www.delightfulrepast.com
The restaurant, Cello Ristorante & Bar, headed up by executive chef Justin Picard, is about fresh ingredients and artisan cookery. I loved meeting him and touring his kitchen and garden. Fine food in a beautiful setting, but you're just as welcome in jeans and boots as in your finery. I don't know about you, but we're not interested in hauling our dress clothes on vacation.
Though I could have tea in my room any time (someone had thoughtfully replaced all the Keurig coffee with assorted teas; and I had brought along, as always, my tea travel kit), I was thrilled to be able to get a proper cup of tea in the restaurant.

Travel Review - Paso Robles Wine Country / www.delightfulrepast.com
When I ordered tea for breakfast, the coffee mug was taken away and replaced by a cup and saucer. And the matching (beautiful rustic pottery) teapot had a decent capacity (probably about 25 ounces). The organic tea bags were the proper "pyramid" sort with plenty of room for the leaves to unfurl. If you're not a tea drinker, you may not appreciate how truly rare this is in the US!
There are lots of great places to eat in Paso Robles, including Thomas Hill Organics (which we loved), but more times than not we found ourselves "at home" at Cello. One evening we enjoyed a bar meal and had the pleasure of watching Travis the bartender mixing drinks, some of his own invention, and mixing with the customers. Sooo fun!
The wine tasting was exceptional. John, the director of wine hospitality, doesn't just know the Allegretto Vineyard wines, he knows all about wine and the wine industry. I was so engrossed that I forgot to take pictures, so I was "forced" to open a bottle of wine at home to stage this photo!

Travel Review - Paso Robles Wine Country - Allegretto Vineyard Resort / www.delightfulrepast.com
Disclosure: Though parts of this trip were comped or discounted, I assure you that does not alter my opinions or influence my review. I always tell my readers exactly what I think.

19 October 2017

Arbor Teas Giveaway - Organic Tea and Stainless Steel Infuser

Arbor Teas Giveaway - Organic Tea and Stainless Steel Infuser / www.delightfulrepast.com

I recently had a chance to try Arbor Teas for the first time, and I was impressed. Arbor Teas offers one of the internet's largest selections of loose leaf organic teas and tisanes. Their entire catalogue is certified organic and two-thirds are Fair Trade Certified.

This is a small, family-owned company in Ann Arbor, Michigan (Go Blue!) with Carbonfree® business practices. Their facility is powered by Michigan sunshine (solar panels). I always compost my tea leaves, and even Arbor Teas packaging and labels are backyard compostable.

They offer all varieties of tea (black, green, white, oolong and pu-erh), as well as lots of herbal tisanes. I, of course, tried black teas only. The first one I tried, Nilgiri, I made as cold-brew iced tea. It was fabulous. I wish I had taken a photo of it for you so you could see the color and clarity.

Call me obsessive, but those two qualities, along with flavor, are especially important to me in iced teas. In case you want to try it, I used a 0.25-ounce/7-gram sample in 3 cups of room temperature water in a small pitcher in the refrigerator for 9 hours.

I tried the other teas my favorite way--hot--and enjoyed them all. As you can see from the photos, the tea leaves expand a lot while brewing, so you need a roomy infuser to allow them to unfurl properly.

Arbor Teas Giveaway - Organic Loose Leaf Tea and Stainless Steel Infuser / www.delightfulrepast.com

Arbor Teas Tea and Infuser Giveaway

The winner of the Arbor Teas giveaway will be sent his/her choice of tea (English Breakfast, Earl Grey or Nilgiri) and the stainless steel tea infuser in his/her choice of trim color (black, blue or green). It works in some teapots as well as in mugs.

Arbor Teas Giveaway - Organic Tea and Stainless Steel Infuser / www.delightfulrepast.com

This giveaway is open to US* residents 18 years of age or older. Leave a comment below (one entry per person); tell me which of the three teas you'd like to try and which infuser trim color you prefer. Please include your email address in the body of your comment. Must enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday October 25.

* If you are outside the US but would like to have this sent to someone in the US (you would have to send them a gift card separately on your own), go ahead and enter! 

Winner will be chosen by random drawing and be announced here in the comments before noon Eastern time on Thursday October 26. If I don't hear back from the winner of the random drawing by noon Eastern time Sunday October 29, another drawing will be held and a new winner selected from the original entrants (those who commented before the giveaway deadline).

Disclosure: Arbor Teas provided product for review purposes and for the giveaway. The views expressed here are entirely my own. I always tell my readers what I really think! 
Coronation Chicken Tea Sandwiches / www.delightfulrepast.com
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