Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

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Guys, I hosted my first holiday dinner this year.  Thanksgiving.  Me.  Guests.  Dinner.  Turkey.  Gravy.  Other Things.  Scary.

What's that you say?  Thanksgiving was October 8, and today is November 21?  Well, the answer to why I am posting all about Thanksgiving 2012 more than a month after Thanksgiving 2012 is because I am really, really bad at not being lazy and really, really good at procrastinating posting this in honour of our neighbours to the south in celebration of their American Thanksgiving!

Butter-Pecan Sweet Potatoes

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Martha Stewart strikes again, in all her domestic wizardry!

These sweet potatoes were delicious as an accompaniment to turkey dinner this year.  This truncated blog post comes from a previous post about Thanksgiving 2012.  If you want to read the full blog post about Thanksgiving 2012, click here to go back to that page.  Otherwise, enjoy...

Peas With Shallots And Pancetta

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Gussied up peas, yo.

This is a Bobby Flay recipe, and it's a keeper.  It's ridiculously easy and quick to make, and adds big flavour to your holiday dinner table.  I'm thinking it will be great again at Easter with ham just like it was this Thanksgiving with turkey.  Yum.  Did I mention I love food?

Butternut Squash Soup With Cumin

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I have been making this recipe for 10 years, and every time that I make it, I love it a little bit more. 

Delicious, low-calorie, nutritious, filling, and gluten-free (if you leave the croutons off that is).  It's a really, really, really good soup.  You could actually substitute any fall or winter squash in place of the butternut squash, but I have yet to try that because I love the butternut squash version so much.

Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing (Gluten-Free or Regular...Your Choice!)

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Thanksgiving is the first holiday dinner that I have been gluten-free for, and my immediate thoughts were the stuffing and gravy. 

It turns out, both of these dishes are easily converted to gluten-free.  For this stuffing, I made half with Bob's Red Mill gluten-free cornbread mix and the other half with Bob's Red Mill regular cornbread mix (just in case the gluten-free stuffing...sucked).  Those who taste-tested both at Thanksgiving dinner said that they tasted exactly the same!  The Hubby's grandmother is also gluten-free, so we both got to enjoy stuffing with our turkey.  This is a keeper recipe that I would definitely make in the future.  I added the pecans for a little crunch, and I think it went nicely with it.

Braised Red Cabbage with Goat Cheese Topping

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This was both my mother-in-law's and my favourite side dish at Thanskgiving, so it will definitely be making an appearance again at a holiday dinner in the near future.  And that's a-ok with me.  Yum.  The recipe didn't call for the goat cheese to be crumbled on top, but the version at Brown's Social House that does have the goat cheese is so, so good, so I was trying to duplicate the same taste.  It was a good idea.  Mental note - Boursin in place of goat cheese might be an even better idea.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bacon Night!

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Friday night was intense.  Saturday I had a major bacon hangover.  Sunday I ate more bacon.

Here's the line-up from our bacon-themed Supper Club night.  And yes, even the dessert had to contain bacon:
Holy crap it was good.  I love Supper Club.

Spinach Salad with Bacon, Egg, and Mushrooms

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This is my favourite spinach salad.

I particularly love the garlicky dressing, which I've used on other salads in the past too...mmm.  It's a Best of Bridge recipe that my mom has been serving since I was a kid.  I hope she never stops.

This blog post comes from a previous post about a bacon-themed supper club night that The Hubby and I did with some friends.  I want it to be that night again right now.  If you want to read the full blog post about Bacon Night, click here to go back to that page.  Otherwise, enjoy...

Spinach Salad with Bacon, Egg, and Mushrooms

Makes:  4 - 6 servings

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp. cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup salad oil
  • 8 cups baby spinach, stems removed
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced or grated
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced
  • fresh mushrooms, sliced
In a jar or other container with a lid, mix together all of the dressing ingredients, shake well, and refrigerate for an hour or longer (or use right away).  In a salad bowl, combine the spinach, eggs, bacon, green onions, and mushrooms, and toss with dressing.

Recipe Source:  The Best of Bridge (and my mom)

Boursin and Bacon-Stuffed Chicken Wrapped in Prosciutto

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Definitely make this.  DEF-IN-ITE-LY make this.


Boursin is one of my favourite things on this planet.  I just.  Want it.  My taste buds love it.  I could legitimately sit down with a box of Boursin, open up the foil, plop it onto a plate, lick the foil clean (oops, no, I haven't done that every time I've eaten it), and then eat the entire package of it in one sitting.  I've never allowed myself to do that before, but every time that we have company and Boursin is one of the appies that I am putting out, I secretly want to do it.  I want to eat it all before anyone else arrives.  To have it all be mine would be, just, no words.  To me, that's how good Boursin is.

So then, as I was using my expert Google sleuthing skills to hunt down a meat-dish entree for my recent bacon-themed supper club night, I stumbled across this recipe for Boursin and bacon stuffed chicken on the So Delushious blog (which I am now probably going to become addicted to).  How could I not make this?  (Rhetorical question...I couldn't not)

Brussels Sprouts With Bacon, Shallots, and Garlic

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OK, so when did Brussels sprouts get so...cool?  They used to be the most hated vegetable in the world (except, I would wager a guess, in Brussels), and now you're seeing it as a side dish at fancy restaurants, and on dinner tables in homes at times other than Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas.  What the heck!  

I was never the biggest fan of Brussels sprouts myself, until one day recently I ate some that had been cooked after they sprout had been cut in half.  Bingo!  That sealed my love for this old cabbage foe o' mine.  When the sprout gets cut in half prior to cooking, all of the flavours of whatever you are cooking the sprouts in gets into the layers of the sprouts and make magic.  In this recipe, the intense flavours of the bacon, shallots, and garlic really get busy with the Brussels sprouts, and make it into a side dish that is more that just palatable - it's downright freaking tasty!  Bacon and Brussels sprouts were meant to be together.  This is a super-easy five-ingredient side dish that I would serve at any time of the year.

Bacon Hasselback Potatoes

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What does Hasselback mean, you ask?  I had no clue either, so I looked it up, and...
Blurry potatoes.  Culprit below.
 ...despite my sometimes extremely impressive Googling skills, I didn't find much, other than that the name comes from some restaurant that they originated from in Sweden.  Boring.  They kind of look like  a loaf of sliced bread to me (Mmmmm....bread. No!  That's not very gluten-free, Megan!)

This recipe comes from my new November 2012 Food Network Magazine.  Basically, bacon + potatoes + boatloads of butter = really great side dish.  Beware the cooking time; I didn't realize that they take two hours to bake until it was too late.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Man Pleasin' Chili

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That's right.

Brrrrr!  How did this happen?  A couple of weeks ago it was hot outside.  Then the following week it only appeared to be hot outside from the view of my bedroom or office window - it was that sunny/cold combination that I can't stand because it's so indecisive and deceiving.  And now, the Rainy Season is upon us.

For those that don't live around the lower west coast of British Columbia, Canada, like me, we have a fifth extra season here called The Rainy Season, that typically stretches for about six months of the year, sometimes longer.  Anyone who lives here knows it's going to happen every year, the same as it did the year before that and the year before that.  And even though prior to The Rainy Season starting we had a streak of about 75 days of uninterrupted really nice weather this year, we still reserve the right to complain as soon as The Rainy Season hits.  And complaining is what most people do, except...me.  Call me a freak, but I like when it rains, and I always have.  Especially when I am indoors, with a good book or an even better reality TV episode, The Hubby, a nice glass of wine or cup of tea, and a soup, chili, stew, or something else from the crock pot.  I guess I was born in the right part of the world, because Raincouver (obviously an incredibly smart and very, very funny play on words) is the nickname bestowed upon Vancouver, where I live close to, and as Canada's third most rainy city, we get an average of 161 days and 1200 mm of rain per year

One good thing about this cold, rainy weather that we are having is that it means that I can more than likely convince The Hubby that it's a good idea for me to purchase new boots and a new warm jacket, because, "winter is just around the corner!!"  (Update:  since writing this I bought 1) new boots, 2) a new warm jacket, a 3) a 'few' other things that I needed).

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