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October 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner for 2

With a small house hold in a tight economy, you can still enjoy a nice Thanksgiving Dinner without eating turkey every day for the rest of the month. This is a complex dinner that is easy to make.


Spinach Salad with Pomegranate, Orange, Celery & Citrus Vinaigrette

Braised Turkey Breast with Duo of Potatoes, Gravy & Cranberry Sauce

Recipe for Spinach Salad:

5 oz Fresh Baby Spinach
1 Pomegranate
2 Oranges
1-2 Sticks of Celery
1/2 Cup of Olive Oil
1/2 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
1 small wedge of Lime
1 tsp Sugar
1 pinch of Salt
1 pinch of White or Black Pepper

1. Rinse fruit and vegetables.
2. Split Pomegranate in quarters. Use a fork to pull out the red seeds. Be aware that the color stains bad so if you are using your fingers instead of a fork, use gloves.
3. Peel one orange and cut nice bite size pieces. Try to take away all seeds.
4. Cut Celery into thin half moon slices or small square pieces.
5. Put the cut pieces to the side, bring out a large bowl and a balloon whisk to make the dressing.
6. Pour Vinegar into bowl, together with juice and peel of orange, juice of lime wedge, sugar, salt & pepper.
7. Whisk constantly while adding oil in a slow pour until incorporated.
8. Taste vinaigrette by eating a leaf of spinach dipped into the dressing. Taste so it is balanced with sweet, salty and acid (lime or vinegar.) Make adjustments until you are happy with the flavor. Always whisk properly before tasting or dressing the salad; if you pour the vinaigrette into a squeeze bottle it makes it very easy to just shake the bottle to mix.
9. Put all the spinach in a big bowl, sprinkle vinaigrette over and toss until coated, but not soaked.
10. Center a pile of dressed spinach leafs in a good portion size on each plate. Divide cut pieces of Pomegranate, Orange and Celery in a nice looking way to finish the salad plates. Serve immediately; if you are planing to serve later, wait with dressing the salad.

Recipe for Braised Turkey Breast:

1 full fresh Turkey Breast with skin on
1 medium Yellow Onion
2 cloves of Garlic
1 Carrot
1 stick of Celery
1 small firm Apple
2 slices of Sourdough Bread
1 cup of Chicken Stock
3 tsp Poultry Seasoning
Salt & Pepper
Vegetable Oil

1. Turn on oven to 375º F
2. Coat Turkey Breast with oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.
3. Heat up 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil in a frying pan. Brown both sides of the Turkey Breast.
4. Cut Onion, Carrot, Celery, Apple and Bread in bite size pieces. Mince or grate garlic.
5. Toss cut pieces and Garlic in a bowl with Poultry Seasoning, Sage and two pinches of each Salt & Pepper. Pour Chicken Stock over and toss without mushing to much.
6. Coat a small, deep oven pan with oil. Spread the bite size pieces as a bed for the Turkey Breast to lay on. Cover pan with foil after 12 minutes to keep food moist. Bake until the Turkey feels firm but does not look like it is shrinking, the inner temperature has to reach 165º F (use thermometer to be sure.)

Recipe for Duo of Potatoes:

2 Large Russet Potatoes
2 Large Sweet Potatoes or Yams
3 Tbsp Soft Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup of Warm Whole Milk
1 Tsp Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Scrub Potatoes under running water, leave peal on.
2. Put potatoes in a larger pot, fill with water so potatoes are covered. Add a pinch of salt, bring to boil, take down heat to simmering and cover with a lid. Cook until potatoes are soft, but not too mushy. You might want to take out the Sweet Potatoes earlier if they are done prior to the Russets.

3. Put the potatoes in two separate bowls and mash them ruffly with a balloon whisk or a potato masher.
4. Add 1.5 Tsp butter in each bowl, 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg and a touch of Salt & Pepper
5. Pour in the warm milk a little by little while you continue to mash until all is mixed and the consistency is how you like it. If you mash to much it will become starchy.
6. Keep the different mashed potatoes separate, so you can plate them nicely as a duo.

Recipe for Gravy:

4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
4 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Chicken Stock
1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1-2 Cups Milk
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1-2 tsp Poultry Seasoning
Salt & White Pepper to taste

1. Melt butter on low heat, take pot of the stove.
2. Whisk flour into butter until smooth.
3. Pour chicken stock and half of the milk while whisking.
4. Put pot back on the stove and heat until mix is boiling.
5. Add cream, mustard and spices and use the rest of the milk to find the right consistency.
6. Heat up again and the gravy is ready to be served. It is important that the gravy is boiled, or you will feel the flavor of flour when tasting it.

Cranberry Sauce Recipe:

1 Cup Fresh Cranberries
1 Orange
1 Lime
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1-3 Cups Water

1. Grate the zest of orange and lime and squeeze out the juice.
2. Mix cranberries, citrus zest, citrus juice, sugar and half of the water.
3. Bring mix to boil, stir properly and turn heat down to simmer.
4. Stir frequently and add water when needed. Cook until cranberries are soft and jelly consistency is created.
5. Taste to see that it has a nice balance between sweet and tart.

October 27, 2008

Quiche with Ground Beef and Carrots

4 portions

Crust Recipe:
1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 stick of Chilled Unsalted Butter
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Cold Water

1. Use a fork or a pastry cutter to mix butter and flour until crumbly.
2. Add salt and water and knead into a dough.
3. Put the dough in a 9.5" pie form and work it out with your finger tips until even and covering the whole inside of the pan. If the butter separates from the dough and it seems oily, leave the dough in the refrigerator for a while until it has chilled, before you finish covering the mold. Pull the dough up on the edge of the mold, because it will shrink when baking.
4. Put the pie shell in refrigerator or freezer until the dough has stiffened up.

Filling Recipe:
3/4 lbs Ground Beef (vegetarian option: mushroom & broccoli)
1 Medium Carrot
1/4 Medium Yellow Onion
1 Small Garlic Clove
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese like Cheddar, Pepper Jack or Mozzarella (can be mixed)
1 Egg
1/4 Cup Whole Milk
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Herbs de Provence (can be substituted with Oregano)
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Cut carrot into the size of a peas.
2. Mince onion and garlic
3. Heat up oil in a frying pan and sauté ground beef until it browns.
4. Add onion and garlic into the hot mix and continue cooking until onion is soft.
5. Add carrots, herbs, salt and pepper. Taste.
6. Let meat mix cool down.
7. Whisk egg in a deep bowl, add milk, meat and cheese and stir it all.
8. Fill pie shell with meat mix, bake until golden brown and center is moist but not wet. If the crust is turning dark to quick, cut a piece of aluminum foil to cover the edge of the pan, but leave the center open.
9. Let quiche sit for a while before cutting.
10. Serve with a fresh green salad and sour cream.

Enjoy with a chilled beer.

October 26, 2008

Braised Herb Chicken with Fettucini, Plums & Roasted Cashews

4 portions

15 oz Fettucini Pasta
3 Raw Chicken Thighs
2 Ripe Plums
3 Tbsp Raw Cashews
1/2 Cup of Red Wine
1 Cup Chicken Broth
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Tbsp Dried Herbs de Provance
1 tsp Dried Thyme
Salt & White Pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish

1. Boil water in pot seasoned with salt, add pasta and cook until done al dente. Cool pasta directly when done under cold water, drain in colander and coat with one Tbsp of vegetable oil.
2. Roast cashews in a dry pan on low heat until light brown.
3. Cut plums into wedges, take pit out and leave skin on.
4. Season chicken with both of the herbs, salt & pepper. Brown both sides of chicken thighs in a hot pan with rest of vegetable oil.
5. Turn down heat, pour red wine over the chicken and let simmer under a lid about 4-5 minutes, add a little water if the wine evaporates to quick.
6. Take chicken out of pan to cut in finger size pieces.
7. Add cooked pasta, chicken broth and plums into the wine sauce and simmer until liquid has reduced to half. Add pieces of chicken and let cook for a few more minutes, until you see that chicken is cooked through. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
8. Serve in deep dish and garnish with cashews & chopped parsley

Enjoy with a glass of Russian River Pinot Noir.

Please, leave comments below of your experience with this recipe.

October 17, 2008

Crunchy Apple-Blueberry Crisp

8-10 portions

5 thinly sliced firm apples

1 small pack of blueberries

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon


1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 pinch salt

1 stick of unsalted soft butter

  1. Grease an oven safe pan approx. 12x16”
  2. Mix ingredients for the filling in a bowl with a tong or spatula. (You can caramelize the apple slices by sautéing them with the brown sugar if you want to)
  3. Mix ingredients for topping in a bowl with a fork or your fingers. You want the mix to become crumbly.
  4. Pour filling into baking pan and crumble the topping over, until evenly distributed.
  5. Bake in 375º F until the crisp is golden brown.
  6. Let cool until warm or chill completely and reheat before serving.

Serve crisp on a deep plate with one scoop of French vanilla bean ice cream and top off with whipping cream and sifted powder sugar


Please, leave comments below of your experience with this recipe.

Harvest time

This time a year brings back memories from my childhood in Sweden, with all the harvesting our family did. My favorites were to find mushrooms in the forest, to cook apple juice in a big double boiler and to jump in the big piles of colorful leaves that were gathered a little every where.

Now a days, I enjoy the ripeness and fantastic flavors of local produce when it is time to gather goodies in my basket for cooking. I love seeing the color changes on the vineyards that we are surrounded by here in northern California, and it seems like the nature comes to live after a busy summer season.