28 December 2017

Salisbury Steak - Classic American Comfort Food

Salisbury Steak - An American Comfort Food Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

Salisbury Steak recently popped into my head on a day that was just calling out for good old-fashioned comfort food. Nothing fancy, expensive or complicated; just good and satisfying.

Salisbury Steak was the invention of a 19th-century American physician. A great proponent of the health benefits of beef, Dr James Henry Salisbury recommended that his “steak” be eaten three times a day. Though three times a day is a bit much for me, I do enjoy Salisbury Steak occasionally.

Of course, if the only version you’ve ever had is the TV dinner (with painted-on "grill marks") or school lunch sort, you’re probably gagging right now. The elementary school I went to up to age 9 did quite a good job of most things on their menu, but the one after that had such bad food I nearly cried on my first day there.

Anything with ground beef in it was especially bad. It must have been the absolute lowest grade of beef allowed to be served to humans. I quickly learned to chew carefully so as not to break a tooth biting down on a piece of bone. Needless to say, more often than not I brought my lunch on Salisbury Steak days.

I always use organic grass-fed ground beef. Besides all its other benefits, it just tastes better. Read about the blind tasting I conducted in my Big Bad Burger Throwdown post.

Mr Delightful likes my Salisbury Steak so much he insisted on opening a rather decent bottle of pinot noir to go with it! It was a good pairing.

And can anything be called comfort food without my favorite accompaniment, Perfect Mashed Potatoes? What do you like to make on those days when only classic comfort food will do?

Salisbury Steak - An American Comfort Food Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com



Salisbury Steak


(Makes 5 servings)

The Steaks

1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces/680 grams) lean ground beef (organic and grass-fed, if possible)
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

The Gravy

1 small (4 ounces/113 grams) yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound (8 ounces/227 grams) mushrooms, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 cups lower sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water

1 In medium bowl, mix together ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, ketchup, dry mustard, salt, pepper, marjoram and Worcestershire sauce. Using 2/3-cup measuring cup, divide mixture into 5 equal portions and shape into oval patties about 5 inches long and 3/4 inch thick.

2 Heat (I mean really heat!) a large skillet*, add butter and oil, and brown the steaks well (I mean really well!) over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer steaks to a plate and pour all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan. Do not clean it! Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently and scraping up the tasty brown bits in the pan, until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms to the pan, and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cook, over medium heat, stirring frequently, until tender, about 10 minutes.

* I use this All-Clad 6-Quart Saute Pan (12-inch, 2.75 inches deep, straight sides). Being stainless steel with no nonstick coating, you can get it really hot to put a brown crust on things. I can't imagine that my gravy would have turned out so beautifully brown if the steaks hadn't been browned really well, leaving fabulous fond in the pan. And its straight sides mean a large surface area for cooking.

3 Add beef broth, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce to skillet. Mix well, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in cornstarch mixture. When sauce begins to bubble and thicken, add steaks back to pan. Cover loosely and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to heat through. When 2 or 3 minutes remain, taste and adjust seasoning.

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21 December 2017

Celery Root Remoulade - Céleri-Rave Rémoulade - A French Classic

Celery Root Remoulade - Céleri Rémoulade - the French classic that makes a silk purse out of a sow's ear / www.delightfulrepast.com

Celery Root Remoulade, Céleri-Rave Rémoulade, is the French classic that makes a silk purse out of a sow's ear. When I first posted about it more than six years ago, one commenter called it "an adventurous coleslaw," but it's much more sophisticated than that!

Could this refreshing winter salad be the "something different" on your menu this month?

Celery root, also called celeriac, is a very unattractive fall and winter root vegetable that can be prepared many ways. If you haven't tried it, it's probably because you've been put off by its appearance.

It is perhaps the ugliest vegetable you'll ever see, sort of like a hairy turnip with tumors. After all the ugliness is trimmed away, you're left with about three-quarters, even two-thirds, the weight you started with.

You can cook celery root, but this raw salad that is a French bistro classic is my favorite. Celery root remoulade is something I first made years ago after seeing Julia Child* make it on television.

Of course, I made up my own recipe to suit myself; and here it is. It can be tricky to follow a recipe when celery roots come in such a wide range of sizes. Just adjust the dressing amounts to the weight of the celery root.

To make enough to serve two people, look for one that is about 3/4 pound. After all the strange bits are trimmed away, it will probably be down to 1/2 pound, just right for two people.

If you've been passing over celery root just because of its appearance, as I did for so long (I feel so shallow!), quickly pop one or two in a bag next shopping trip. After you taste this, you might even decide that celery roots, like baby hippos, are so ugly they're cute!

PS I just learned that ThermoWorks Electronic Gift Certificates are now available and are the easiest and fastest way to give the gift of ThermoWorks (the famous Thermapen and all kinds of thermometers and timers).

Celery Root Remoulade - Céleri Rémoulade - the French classic that makes a silk purse out of a sow's ear / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Celery Root Remoulade


(Serves 2)

3/4 pound (12 ounces/340 grams) celery root
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish or finely minced sweet pickle
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed and drained, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Garnish: minced fresh parsley or julienned green apple

1 Cut off the leaves and root end, then scrub. Trim, peel and halve lengthwise the celery root. Cut each half lengthwise into 2 or more pieces, whatever will fit into the feed tube of your food processor. With shredding disk in place, coarsely shred the celery root. In 1-quart bowl, toss the shredded celery root with salt and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Cover and set aside to soften for 30 to 60 minutes.


Note: Though the shreds should be no bigger than a matchstick, they should not be too fine. Coarsely shredded.

2 In small bowl, stir together 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice and remaining ingredients. Stir the dressing into the celery root and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.


Note: Though some people say it's not good the next day, I haven't found that to be the case.

3 Spoon each serving into a small bowl or on a small leaf of butter lettuce on a plate. Garnish.

* See Vegetable Quiche post for one of my Julia Child stories. And, speaking of Julia, she favored white pepper and would not have liked the black specks of pepper in my remoulade! But I love my coarsely ground black pepper and put it in and on everything.


Updated and edited from my archives, Celery Root Remoulade.

Disclosure: Some posts contain links to my affiliate accounts at ThermoWorks and Amazon. If you purchase something through one of my links, I receive a small commission, at no cost to you, which I use toward the expenses of running this blog. Thanks for supporting Delightful Repast when you shop!

14 December 2017

Earl Grey Eggnog - A Delightful Twist on the Classic

Earl Grey Eggnog - A Delightful Twist on the Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

Earl Grey Eggnog? Usually I'm a purist when it comes to eggnog (refuse to even try additions like pumpkin or chocolate), but this week I thought I'd shake things up a bit and combine two of my favorite beverages, tea and eggnog.

I’m a firm believer that people who say they don’t like eggnog have just never had good eggnog. Eggnog without eggs doesn’t count (unless you’re vegan or allergic to eggs, of course).

And eggnog with raw eggs just isn’t happening around here. Besides the concerns about salmonella, there is the fact that the taste and texture aren’t quite as good (IMHO) as in an eggnog made with a cooked base.


Earl Grey Eggnog - A Delightful Twist on the Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com


If you’re not interested in messing with the classics, try my usual Classic Eggnog. But I was feeling wild and crazy this week and thought I’d throw one of my favorite teas into the pot and see what happened.

With just 1 teaspoon of sugar per 1/2-cup serving, it has far less sugar than is typical; but you won't miss it, I promise. And I use just enough brandy for great flavor, about 1/2 teaspoon per 1/2-cup serving; but you can leave it out altogether if you like.

Are you an eggnog fan? If not, maybe this is the year to try it my way! Or at least try Eggnog Ice Cream!


Earl Grey Eggnog - A Delightful Twist on the Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Earl Grey Eggnog


(Makes about 2 quarts, sixteen 1/2-cup servings)

2 3/8 cups (19 fluid ounces/562 ml) hot milk
2 tablespoons loose leaf Earl Grey tea or 6 Earl Grey tea bags
6 large egg yolks (Make a batch of meringues with the whites!)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (16 fluid ounces/473 ml) cold milk
3 tablespoons (1.5 fluid ounces/45 ml) to 1/2 cup or more brandy or rum, optional
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg plus more for garnish
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) heavy whipping cream

1 At least 9, or up to 24, hours before serving time: In 1-quart saucepan, stir the tea into the hot milk, cover and steep for 10 minutes; strain the tea. In bottom pan of double boiler, heat an inch of water to a gentle simmer. In top pan of double boiler, whisk together egg yolks, sugar and salt until well blended.

2 Gradually whisk in the tea-infused warm milk and cook over hot but not boiling water, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken slightly and registers between 160F/71C and 170F/76C (but do not boil) on an instant-read thermometer.* Just pull a tall stool up to the stove like I do 'cause it's gonna take a while, perhaps 10 minutes.

* I have the Thermapen Mk4 now, but I used to have the Classic Super-Fast Thermapen and it’s fabulous as well. You don’t want the eggs to curdle on you while you’re messing about with a slow thermometer!


Earl Grey Eggnog - A Delightful Twist on the Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

3 Stir in the cold milk. Strain custard into a 2-quart bowl; stir in brandy* or rum, vanilla and nutmeg. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours.

* Actually, you could leave out the alcohol and let each person add his own favorite tipple or have it alcohol-free. I just use 3 tablespoons of brandy as a flavoring.

4 To serve: Whip cream just until soft peaks form. With wire whisk, gently fold whipped cream into custard. Pour eggnog into chilled 2- or 2.5-quart punch bowl or pitcher; sprinkle with nutmeg.

Disclosure: Some posts contain links to my affiliate accounts at ThermoWorks and Amazon. If you purchase something through one of my links, I receive a small commission, at no cost to you, which I use toward the expenses of running this blog. Thanks for supporting Delightful Repast when you shop!

07 December 2017

Cretons - French Canadian Meat Spread

Cretons - French Canadian Meat Spread - A Centuries-Old Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

Delightful Repast is all about comfort food. And Cretons (pronounced kreh-tohn) – French Canadian Meat Spread – is one of the classic Quebecois comfort foods my husband grew up with.

As with Tourtiere – French Canadian Meat Pie, Mr Delightful hadn't had this dish since his Mémé died many years ago. I decided to give it a try.

Knowing Mr Delightful’s “texture issues” (he won’t touch pâté, hummus, guacamole, dips of any kind), I couldn’t quite believe that he ate and enjoyed cretons in his youth!

With that in mind, I decided to make just a small batch. But I needn’t have worried. It was a hit! Especially on my toasted Homemade Sourdough Sandwich Bread


Cretons - French Canadian Meat Spread - A Centuries-Old Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com


Though it is traditionally spread on toast and served for breakfast, we had it for lunch, since we nearly always have oatmeal and fruit for breakfast. Mustard and gherkins (cornichons would be good) are the traditional go-withs.

I wanted to take an “in progress” cooking photo, but cretons really isn’t that photogenic while it’s cooking. But you can see in the photos of the finished product that I left it just a bit chunky.

I thought of giving it a few licks with the immersion blender, which you can do if you want a smoother spread, but what with Mr Delightful’s aforementioned issues I thought I better leave it alone.

Have you ever made, or had, cretons? For breakfast, or as an hors d’oeuvre?


Cretons - French Canadian Meat Spread - A Centuries-Old Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com


Cretons - French Canadian Meat Spread


(Makes three 3/4-cup pots)

1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams) pastured ground pork
1 small (4 ounces/113 grams) yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon mace or nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 packed cup soft breadcrumbs

1 In 2-quart saucepan, combine all ingredients except the breadcrumbs. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a large fork until the meat is broken up into crumbles and not clumping together.

2 Simmer, covered, for 2 hours.* Check it every half hour or so to make sure there is enough liquid, adding a little water if necessary. There was no need for me to add liquid as there was plenty of fat in the ground pork.

* I just have to show you my new ThermoWorks Christopher Kimball Signature Timer. I've had it since October, and I think it's the best purchase I've made all year! Sleek and unbulky but with bigger buttons, and it's two timers in one. Great gift idea, too. I want to buy one for everyone!


ThermoWorks Christopher Kimball Signature Timer - sleek and unbulky but with good-sized keys, times two things at once / www.delightfulrepast.com


3 Taste and adjust seasoning. Stir in the breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes or so. Pack into three 3/4-cup ramekins or in glass jars. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving; keeps in refrigerator for several days. May be frozen for up to 3 months.

Disclosure: Some posts contain links to my affiliate accounts at ThermoWorks and Amazon. If you purchase something 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 when you shop!

30 November 2017

Chicken and Mushroom Penne Pasta

Chicken and Mushroom Penne Pasta / www.delightfulrepast.com

Chicken and Mushroom Penne Pasta is one of those dishes that’s special enough for company and easy enough for a weeknight family dinner. You can put all sorts of things into one of these dishes, but I like to really savor a few simple ingredients instead of throwing the kitchen sink at it.

I made the batch pictured here with the smaller measure of sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms, but I like it even better with the double amounts. If you use the larger amounts, do throw in an extra splash of brandy.

So many creamy pasta recipes call for huge amounts of butter, cream and cheese – but you can get delicious results with far less. In fact, my recipe is made without any butter and cream at all and just a small amount of cheese.

Sometimes I prefer just enough sauce to coat each bite of chicken and mushroom and each piece of pasta, as shown here. Other times I like to have more sauce, so I splash in the cream. It's very flexible.

I think the dish is best with a ridged (rigate) tube pasta. Penne was my favorite until I met mini penne a few years ago. But either will do. Of course, it’s delightful with a red meat sauce, but I do love a creamy chicken pasta.


Chicken and Mushroom Penne Pasta / www.delightfulrepast.com


Chicken and Mushroom Penne Pasta


(Makes 4 to 6 servings)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 small (4 ounces/113 grams) yellow onion, finely sliced
1/4 to 1/2 firmly packed cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely sliced and microwaved for 15 seconds with 1 or 2 tablespoons water
1/2 to 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces/680 grams) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons brandy
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) milk
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour shaken with 1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, more to sprinkle over plated pasta
3/4 pound (12 ounces/340 grams) mini penne pasta
Reserved pasta water

1 In 5-quart pan, bring 3 quarts of water with 1/2 tablespoon of salt to a full boil. While it’s heating up, make sauce. You will add the pasta to the boiling water about the same time you start cooking the chicken. But if the water is not up to a rapid boil by then, the sauce can sit quite happily.

2 In 12-inch straight-sided* skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and saute the onion while you slice and hydrate the sun-dried tomatoes and slice the mushrooms.

* If your 12-inch skillet is not straight-sided, you’ll need to cook the chicken in two batches. So if you have a straight-sided one, use it.

3 Add the tomatoes to the skillet and cook for about a minute until the liquid evaporates, then add another tablespoon of oil, mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook over high enough heat to make the mushrooms sizzle, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are done, about 6 to 10 minutes. Remove vegetables to a bowl.

4 Add 2 tablespoons oil to skillet and cook the chicken, seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and cooked through. Deglaze the pan by stirring in the brandy and scraping up any browned bits. Add the milk and the slurry of flour and water, cooking and stirring until thickened. Stir in the basil, thyme, red pepper and Parmesan.

5 Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the pasta water in case your sauce needs thinning. Stir the drained pasta into the sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning. 

23 November 2017

Madeira Cake - A British Classic

Madeira Cake - A British Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

Madeira Cake is a classic British cake that’s been around for a couple hundred years. With few and simple ingredients, it’s so “plain Jane” that many people overlook it. But it’s a classic for a reason—it’s really good!

My mother and I always liked the buttery, faintly lemony aromas wafting through the kitchen as it baked. Since it’s baked in a deep tin, it takes longer to bake than a layer cake. The firm but tender texture makes beautiful slices for teatime, lunchbox or in trifle and other desserts.

If made correctly, it will be domed and have a crack on the top. And, contrary to its name, will not contain Madeira. It got its name simply because it was served with a glass of Madeira. But I’ve only ever served it with tea, and that’s a pretty delightful combination as well.

When baking layer cakes (in UK, sandwich cakes), especially ones that will be decorated, bakers take measures to prevent doming and cracking. There are lots of recipes out there for Madeira cake that incorporate some of those tactics, and that is wrong. Might make a nice cake, but it won’t be a Madeira cake.

You will need this particular size cake tin, a 3-inch/8cm deep 6-inch/15cm round cake tin for this amount of batter. What I love about this size tin is that it makes the perfect size cake for small pieces (3x3x1-inch wedges) for afternoon tea. Of course, you can also cut larger pieces for dessert.

This is not a Lemon Drizzle Cake, so I did not put a glaze on it; those little runs you see on the side are just from the candied lemon slices I placed on top for decoration. Have you ever made a Madeira cake?


Madeira Cake - A British Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com


Madeira Cake


(Makes one 3-inch/8cm deep 6-inch/15cm round cake)

1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (6.25 ounces/177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour*
2/3 cup (4.67 ounces/132 grams) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons non-GMO baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons (4.5 ounces/128 grams) unsalted butter, softened**
2 large eggs, room temperature, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce/30 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 or 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

* Many British recipes call for self-raising flour, but mine will always call for plain flour. I prefer to be in control of the amount of baking powder and salt I use.

** Let butter stand at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes. Butter needs to be a little softer for a hand mixer than for a stand mixer. It should be squishable, but not melting or greasy/oily. 

1 Preheat oven to 300F/150C/Gas2. Butter a 3-inch deep 6-inch round cake tin. Line the bottom with a round of baking parchment. Turn the parchment over so that both sides are buttered. Lightly flour the tin.

Note: I've also baked it at 325F/165C/Gas3 for about 50 minutes with good results, but I think I prefer the lower temperature for the longer time.

2 In 2-quart bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. With electric hand mixer, mix the softened butter into the flour mixture until it resembles crumbs. On low setting, mix in the eggs, lemon juice and zest just until combined; beat on medium to high speed for 1 minute. The batter is quite stiff and should just drop slowly off a spoon when nudged. If it is too stiff, add a tablespoon of milk or another tablespoon of lemon juice, if you like.

3 Scrape batter into prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center or when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.

4 Leave in tin on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from tin. Peel away the parchment on the bottom and set right side up on rack to cool completely.

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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
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(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 anywhere from 3 pounds to 3 3/4 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.

Jean

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.

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