Monday, November 30, 2015

What to Do with Thanksgiving Leftovers?

Every year The Lovely Spouse and I make WAAAAAAY too much food for just one or 2 meals at Thanksgiving so we have lots and lots of leftovers. At some point you get tired of turkey sandwiches, and not everything freezes well [turkey does, so we recommend freezing it in ziploc freezer bags] so what else is there to do with the leftovers? Use them in other recipes, of course!

One of our favorites is this one for African Peanut Soup. The recipe as written doesn't quite work for leftovers so I made the following alterations:
1. Measure out 1 pound of turkey. Chop the meat into 1/4 inch cubes.
2. Measure out 2 pounds of candied sweet potatoes.
3. I substituted a medium-sized shallot for the onions. This is because I'm sensitive to onions. I also omitted the garlic.
4. Add slightly more cayenne. I added a full teaspoon of cayenne. If your sweet potatoes contain a lot of butter you may need to add more. Adjust according to your own taste.

Start the recipe  the same as originally written - add the oil to the pan with the curry powder. Add the onions (or shallots) and cook until translucent. Next add the stock, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. [If your ingredients are still cold from being stored in the fridge this will take longer than expected.]

Add the coconut milk, turkey, peanut butter (I recommend using chunky, "all natural" peanut butter), salt and pepper to taste, and cayenne. Bring the whole thing to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with hot sauce on the side.

In our house this typically makes 4-6 servings. If you have LOTS of leftovers, double the recipe. This is a delicious way to transform your leftovers into something completely different.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and yours the Happiest of Thanksgivings.

Image source

Here are a few of my go-to recipes for Thanksgiving:

1. Alton Brown's perfectly cooked Traditional Roast Turkey. The recipe is one of Food Network's top downloads for a reason. 

2. Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots from Betty Crocker. 

3. Candied Sweet Potatoes and Apples. They make a lovely pair. 

5. Mimi Assad's Cardamom Apple Pie. Cardamom and apples are delicious together. Rose water adds a unique flavor for an unforgettably delicious apple pie. If making your own pie crust scares you, there's no shame in a pre-made grocery store one. 

6. Apple Chestnut Stuffing. I love the taste of chestnuts, apples, and fresh herbs together. 

7. Green Bean Amandine. An easy onion-free alternative to the famous green bean casserole. 

8. Orange Blossom and Cardamom Rice Crispie Treats. I like cardamom in All The Things. 

In case you're wondering what to pair with your turkey and sides, here are a few suggestions. If you don't drink alcohol, I suggest a good, strong non-alcoholic ginger beer, such as the one made by The Ginger People

Pairing with turkey: Fetzer Gewurztraminer. Super inexpensive (incredible value) and available everywhere. My group of friends and I have been happy with this pairing for a number of years. The wine complements the turkey without overpowering it. It also pairs well with most sides. Do not pair it with desserts. 

Pairing with sides: If you can't get your hands on New Republic Brewing's Windlass Sweet Potato Porter (it is awesome!) another porter or robust, full-bodied ale will fit the bill. If you don't have any good local ones, try Sam Smith's Taddy Porter or Nut Brown Ale. If you're not a beer drinker you might like the 337 cab sav. Inexpensive, jammy, and full-bodied. It will go well with sage and rosemary - the herbs typically used for a Thanksgiving meal. 

Pairing with desserts: this will depend on the dessert. I like porters, stouts, and dark ales with rich chocolate desserts. Amaretto also pairs exceptionally well with chocolate. With apple-based desserts I like ginger beer or spiced apple cider. Pecan and pumpkin pie pair well with nut brown ales and New Republic Brewing's Dammit Jim! (the name of the beer has the exclamation point). 

After dinner drinks: I love the Quad Winery Elysium for a dessert muscat. Great lychee flavors and full bodied finish. It's a bit pricey, but worth it for a celebration. If you're in Texas try the Haak Madeira. A surprising find for a Texas winery: full-bodied, complex, and satisfying. For the quality of the madeira, it's very reasonably priced. If you love lemons, limoncello is always a great after dinner drink. If whiskey is your thing, Rio Brazos makes a lovely, complex small batch one called Boxcar. Nice as a sipping drink and lovely in a Manhattan.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post constitutes endorsement of any product. These are my opinions and I'm not paid or otherwise compensated to blog or endorse anything. If anyone ever sent me a promotional thing of any sort, I'd declare it as such.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Recipe: Madras Beef Chili

I got invited to participate in a chili cook-off. The top prize was bragging rights among a group of friends. I only made chili once before but have been making curries for a number of years so I wondered about combining the 2. A search of the internet yielded...not much. So I made my own recipe.

Did I win the chili cook-off? As things turned out, the group of friends had so much fun just hanging out they forgot to judge it. So everyone wins! Or not. It was fun regardless.

This chili combines the rich flavors of a Madras-style curry with satisfying comfort of a chili. The base recipe below is flavorful without destroying your palate with spice. Add more or less cayenne pepper to control the heat. The chili reheats very well.

Madras Beef Chili

4 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp chili powder
4 tsp freshly grated ginger
5 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp butter
2 shallots
2 lbs ground beef (80/20)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (unflavored)
3 cups beef stock (more or less depending on humidity and moisture content of other ingredients)
2 large white potatoes, peeled, 1 inch dice
4 medium carrots, peeled, 1/2 inch dice
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
cayenne pepper to taste (start with 1 tsp and work add more as needed)
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine coriander, cumin, turmeric, pepper, chili, ginger, and lemon juice. It should form a paste. Set aside. 
  2. Stirring constantly, heat the butter in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium to high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring constantly, until they're translucent. Turn up the heat to high, add the beef and a few pinches of salt, and cook until browned.
  3. Reduce the heat back to medium, add the spice paste from Step 1, mix well, and cook for 1-2 minutes. 
  4. Add tomato paste, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and stock. Add more of the stock so that the vegetables are covered, if necessary. 
  5. Add curry powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine. 
  6. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a bare simmer. Simmer 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes thicken the chili.  
  7. Serve with bread, rice, corn chips, cheese, and/or Fritos. Serve with hot sauce on the side so that others can add more heat, if necessary.

Servings: 4-6 as a meal.