14 November 2019

Turkey and Dressing for Two - Classic Bread Stuffing

Turkey and Dressing for Two / www.delightfulrepast.com

We enjoy a turkey dinner a few times throughout the year, and since it's just the two of us most of the time, this is an easy way to do it. Just enough turkey for two and just enough dressing for two--if one of the two is crazy about dressing (that would be me!). 

My father would have appreciated this post. He was not a turkey fan, did not appreciate leftovers, and refused to eat turkey more than once a year. 

Do you call it stuffing or dressing? My family called it dressing, whether it was baked inside the turkey or in a dish. Like my mother before me, I've tried all kinds of variations/add-ins--sausage, dried fruits, nuts--someone even snuck an egg into it once; but my favorite is the classic bread stuffing.

Unfortunately, I'd used up my stash of Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth (in anticipation of having to switch everything to a new refrigerator last week), but we made do. But do make that first if you're going to be doing the full-on, big deal turkey dinner. 


To serve four people, use a 13x9x2-inch baking dish and two packages of cutlets; no need to double the dressing recipe. I might post just one more turkey dinner related recipe next week. What is your favorite item on the menu?

Turkey and Dressing for Two / www.delightfulrepast.com
May not look pretty or colorful in the baking dish, but when you plate
it up with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and green vegetables,
it looks verrrry photogenic!
Don't forget to Pin it and share it!

Turkey and Dressing for Two 


The Dressing

3/4 pound (12 ounces/340 grams) good white and/or French bread, sliced and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter
1 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 3/4 cup (14 fluid ounces/414 ml) homemade turkey broth or low sodium chicken broth

The Turkey

1 14.4-ounce (408 grams) turkey breast cutlets (5 cutlets, boneless and skinless)

Note: Of course, you can skip the bread, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning AND Step 1 if you pick up a box of seasoned stuffing mix. There are even some organic brands now. It all depends on whether you can find one seasoned the way you like, and that might prove very difficult. 

1 Lay the cubed bread out on a sheet pan and place it in the cold oven for 48 hours, stirring twice a day, to dry it out. My mother always dried the bread out in a warm oven because she couldn't have her oven tied up for two days! Just preheat the oven to 325F/165C/Gas3, and pop the sheet pan in for 50 minutes or so, stirring halfway through; cool completely.

2 In a 3-quart saucepan, melt the butter and cook the chopped celery and onion, with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper, until very soft, about 15 minutes. About 5 minutes in, preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and the poultry seasoning. Add the bread cubes, lightly crushing some or all of the cubes, depending on what texture you prefer. Stir until bread and vegetable mixture are thoroughly combined, then gradually stir in broth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add a bit more broth if you like a moister dressing. 

3 Transfer the dressing to a greased 8x8x2-inch baking dish, pressing it down lightly.* Season the cutlets on both sides with salt and pepper. Lay them on top of the dressing; they will be overlapping a bit. Cover the baking dish tightly with a square of aluminum foil. Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes. Both the cutlets and the dressing should register 165F/74C on an instant-read thermometer.

* You can do this a day ahead, then add the turkey cutlets just before baking.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

07 November 2019

Pumpkin Slab Pie - Perfect for a Party Dessert Bar

Pumpkin Slab Pie - Perfect for a Party Dessert Bar / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pumpkin pie is an autumn favorite, and for everyday purposes a regular 9-inch pie is great. But when you're serving lots of people, especially if there will be multiple desserts on offer, it's time for pumpkin slab pie.

Even if you're not doing a "dessert bar," chances are if it's a special occasion or you're having lots of people over, there will be two or three different kinds of pie and most people won't choose just one. You know the drill: "I'll take just a sliver of each." And those slivers are impossible to cut, so it turns into a big old mess.

Easy solution: slab pie. Made in a 13x9x1-inch quarter sheet pan, it can be cut neatly into squares or triangles as small as you like.

Pumpkin Slab Pie - Perfect for a Party Dessert Bar / www.delightfulrepast.com


The problem with most pumpkin pie recipes is that they attempt to address the issue of high temperature needed for the crust and low needed for the custard by starting high and turning it down, and the compromise doesn’t always succeed. The filling is overcooked and, well, soggy bottoms! For a pumpkin or any custard pie, I fully pre-bake the crust to avoid the soggy bottom problem.

When I'm being fancy, I cut off the edges of the pie and save those for snacks, cutting uniform "center cuts" to put on a pretty platter or tiered stand. For less formal occasions, serve directly from the pan, edges and all.


What are your favorite items for a dessert bar?

Pumpkin Slab Pie - Perfect for a Party Dessert Bar / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pumpkin Slab Pie 


(Makes one 13x9x1-inch pie, 12 to 16 servings)

The Pastry

1 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (7.5 ounces/213 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon non-GMO baking powder
1 1/4 sticks (5 ounces/142 grams) unsalted butter, well chilled

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons ice water
Additional ice water, a teaspoon at a time, if needed


The Filling


2/3 cup (4.67 ounces/132 grams) sugar* 
1 tablespoon non-GMO cornstarch 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs 
1 15-ounce (425 grams) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) or 1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) milk 

* I use just 1/4 cup when making it for just us.

1 In medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. With coarse grater, grate about 3/4 stick of butter into flour bowl. Cut the remaining butter into 1/2-inch cubes. With fingers, quickly work the grated butter into the flour until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add the cubed butter and work it into the crumbs, leaving some pieces the size of small peas. 

2 In small bowl, combine vinegar and ice water. Sprinkle over flour mixture while stirring with large fork. Add a little more water, a teaspoon at a time, if needed. 

3 Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten slightly into a 5-inch round disk with smooth edges; double wrap; refrigerate for one hour or up to four days. May be frozen for up to a month; defrost, wrapped, in the refrigerator.

4 If dough is thoroughly chilled, let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling. Line a 13x9x1-inch quarter sheet pan with a piece of baking parchment. On lightly floured surface, roll out disk to a 16x12-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Place pastry in pan, being careful to not stretch the dough. Leave a 1/2-inch overhang of dough. Crimp the edge. (Sometimes you need to chill the pastry a bit before crimping.) Flute the edge higher than usual to contain the filling. Cover loosely and place in freezer for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. 

5 Fit the sheet of aluminum foil in the shell and fill with ceramic pie weights (baking beans). Bake the thoroughly chilled crust for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes.

Note: I use two boxes of the ceramic pie weights (which fit nicely into a 200-gram tea tin for storage) for a 9-inch pie or this quarter-sheet slab pie.

6 Remove fully pre-baked pie shell from the oven; let cool completely before filling, at least 30 minutes or hours ahead, whatever suits your schedule.

7 Once pie shell is cool, preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. In medium bowl (using a 2-quart glass measure makes it easy to pour the filling into the crust), whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt and spices. Whisk in the eggs, then the pumpkin and then the milk and cream. 

8 Pour the filling into the cooled pie shell. Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted midway between edge and center comes out clean or until it registers 185F/85C on an instant-read thermometer.

Note: After you've made pumpkin pie a few times, you can tell just by looking whether or not it's done. It will look darker and shinier and may have puffed up a bit and then fallen, and it should be fairly firm but still have a little jiggle left in the center.

9 Cool completely on wire rack for 2 hours, then lay a square of wax paper over the top and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Serve with softly whipped cream. I sweetened and flavored 1 cup of heavy whipping cream with 4 teaspoons of real maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.


Note: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

31 October 2019

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth / 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 first posted this three years ago, though I've been making it for decades. If you read it then but didn't try it, please read it again and give it a go now!)

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 exhausted! 

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 / 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! Actually, some people love the canned cut into slices, so I sometimes serve both.)

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 (this photo - the roasted drumsticks) / 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, above, 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 (this photo - pan drippings) / 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 (this photo - the broth) / 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: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

24 October 2019

Pasta with Bacon, Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Pasta with Bacon, Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes / www.delightfulrepast.com


First of all, let me apologize for that title. Pasta with Bacon, Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. I'm sorry. 😔 I hate recipe names that are an ingredient list, but what else could I call it? At least I didn't include every ingredient.

But first, let's talk pasta. Mini penne is my favorite for this; you can use something else if you prefer. But I take issue with the cooking instructions on the pasta packages: "Bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a boil." That's for one little pound of pasta, so they would have you boil 2 to 3 quarts for the half pound in this recipe. No.

Don't haul out your huge pot and waste a bunch of water and salt. In a 2- to 3-quart pan, bring 1 quart of water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil. That's all you need to cook 8 ounces of dried pasta. 

I hope you'll try this easy weeknight meal and let me know how you like it.

Pasta with Bacon, Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pasta with Bacon, Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes


(Makes 3 Servings)

2 slices (2.5 ounces/71 grams) bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1/3 packed cup (1 ounce/28 grams) sun-dried tomato halves, cut into 1/4-inch strips
3 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 pound (8 ounces/227 grams) button mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 2x1/4-inch strips
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/60 ml) dry sherry
Optional: 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup or more grated parmesan or finely shredded mozzarella


1 In large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to small bowl. There will probably be about a tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan.


2 In small bowl, add the hot water to the sun-dried tomatoes, cover and let stand until needed.

3 Add a tablespoon of the olive oil to the drippings in the skillet along with the chopped onion. Cook over medium-low heat until onion is very soft, about 5 minutes (or longer, if you like). 

4 Add the mushrooms to the skillet, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes. 

5 In the meantime, bring 1 quart of water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan. Proceed with the recipe until the water is ready, then cook the pasta for the length of time specified on the package; drain well.

6 Add the bell pepper and reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes (minus any leftover soaking liquid) to the skillet. Cook for about 4 minutes.

7 Add the sherry and, if using, heavy cream (I sometimes use it, sometimes don't; this batch in the photos is without cream). Cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes.

8 Stir the well-drained pasta into the sauce along with the bacon, then taste and adjust seasoning. I find that the small amount of salt I used on the mushrooms is quite enough because of the salt in the bacon and sun-dried tomatoes. Plate up and sprinkle with cheese.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

17 October 2019

Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition - Review and Giveaway

Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition - Review and Giveaway

With its encyclopedic coverage of every aspect of cookery, and tipping the scales at nearly 5 pounds, the 2019 edition of Joy of Cooking is indeed a weighty tome.

More than nine years in the works, Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition has been fully revised and updated by the original "Mrs Joy's" great-grandson and his wife, John Becker and Megan Scott.

Its wider pages (by about an inch and a half) and sewn binding mean the book will lie flat, a useful improvement over previous editions. Next I noticed the improved index. Just one example: 

The 1997 edition listed

Pâté
   à Choux, 919

   Chicken Liver, 725

The 2019 edition has corrected that error and made separate listings for pâte à choux and the totally unrelated pâtés and terrines.

I was pleased to see that the latest Joy, with legacy material and classics side by side with modern recipes and techniques, has retained the personality and "feel" we love. 

Of course, a volume of this scope has no room for photos, so I've included my own photos of the only recipe I've made so far, the Apple Dumplings, page 688, with the Cream Cheese Pastry Dough, page 665.

Coming November 12!

Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition - Review and Giveaway


The pastry came together quickly in the food processor, but you can do it by hand as well. With no water added, it's impossible to overwork. I'll be using this lovely pastry for many things, sweet and savory.

Photographed by me with permission of publisher
to show Joy's signature recipe formatting style


I think Irma, the original Mrs Joy, and Marion, her daughter, would be well pleased indeed with this edition. But I fear John Becker and Megan Scott have done themselves out of a job; this edition will not become dated and in need of revision any time soon. 

Whether you are an experienced home cook or a never-cooked-before novice, this comprehensive volume will be an education! Enter my giveaway below to possibly win a copy for yourself or for someone on your gift list.


Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition - Review and Giveaway


Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition Giveaway 


Scribner will send winner a copy of Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition.

This giveaway is open to US residents* (See next paragraph, international friends!) 18 years of age or older. Leave a comment below (one entry per person). Please include your email address in the body of your comment. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday October 23. 

* 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 24. If I don't hear back from the winner of the random drawing by noon Eastern time Saturday October 26, another drawing will be held and a new winner selected from the original entrants (those who commented before the giveaway deadline).

Disclosure: Scribner provided a book for review purposes and for the giveaway. The views expressed here are entirely my own. I always tell my readers what I really think!

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean
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