Tag Archives: holiday

Thanksgiving Recipe Linky Love / Visiting Food Banks in the Land of Milk and Honey

Some fun Turkey Day links:

  1. 59 Cheap and Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes;
  2. Mark Bittman’s Mimimalist Thanksgiving (or, at least some of it) turkey and some sides, all under THREE hours;
  3. Food safety experts say the turkey can go from FREEZER to OVEN;
  4. Kaylyn’s Low Carb Thanksgiving/Leftovers Recipes; and
  5. Bryant Terry’s ecological Thanksgiving recipes*.

And of course -holiday-friendly  Dude, Where’s the Stove? recipes:

* I have such a book crush on Bryant Terry. I received a copy of his new hit, The Inspired Vegan – I’ll have to post a review once I’ve done more than just drool over the recipes!

In the spirit of gratitude, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about food banks this year. My town has a hotline people can call to find out what food banks are open each day. And this year, I helped a few friends visit them. By help I mean – making a phone call and driving people around. Not much, but, something, right?  It turns out that one my friends never got any sort of help from family during a rough patch. Not a penny, not a can. Nothing. It meant the world to her that I picked her up in my car, waited in line with her, and visited the food bank a few times. I had no clue it made a difference.

So what are these food banks like? One local non-profit with an ecological bent distributes food to seniors who pay a small flat fee each year, to get a weekly grocery bag full of lettuce, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes and other  veggies that are a shade past their prime, as well as a loaf of bread, saving them from the trash heap. A church distributes twenty-pound sacks of onions, cauliflowers, potatoes, carrots, and other veggies as part of a USDA program. Another place shares a mixture of canned / packaged foods and some fresh veggies as part of a food distribution non-profit.

So, anyways, I am giving thanks, to anyone who has ever given food, money, time, anything to any of these food banks.  Thank you for helping people in their time of need. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! And may we all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Photo credit: my friend who worked like crazy making turkey cake pops!

Chocolate Bark with Almonds (makes you look like a genius)

Bitterweet Chocolate Almond Bark

I made something like last winter to give away for the holidays but thought I’d tweak it into something less sweet, and more ingredient-centric. Some people really really LOVE it. But it’s not going to be your cup of tea if you like stuff really sweet. Because it’s not. Rather, it’s just sweet. (you can use “regular” chocolate if you want it sweeter).  And that is what drives the people crazy. Here goes! (oh and a Warning – many of the recipes on this blog are designed with an eye towards frugality – but this is not one of them).

Ingredients:

1 lb dark chocolate; (I used the 72% from Trader Joe’s, it’s $5.00 for 17 oz);
3/4 lb toasted unsalted almonds; ($3.00 of a $4.00 bag from Trader Joe’s);
1/2 cup of dried sweetened cranberries; (about 1/2 of a $$4.00 bag from Trader Joe’s);
1 cup of chopped dried unsweetened apricots; (about 1/2 bag from Trader Joe’s)*

Tools:

sauce pot;
very clean stainless steel bowl;
fork;
parchment paper;
water.

Fill a broad sauce pot (10″ radius or greater) until the water level is a few inches from the top. Simmer. Do NOT boil. Place the stainless steel bowl in the pot and make sure that the water makes good contact with the bowl. The bowl should float.  Break the chocolate into chunks, then drop them into the stainless steel bowl.

Tear off enough parchment paper to cover a cookie sheet.  Let the chocolate melt. Mix the almonds and dried fruits. Pour everything onto the paper. Allow to cool for a few hours and eventually, cover it with parchment paper. Move chocolate bark from the cookie sheet to a cutting board. Cut. ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ALTERNATE ENDING: for those of you who enjoy white chocolate, use that! Might want to use salted almonds to balance out the sweetness usually associated with white chocolate.

*I have also purchased the Mariani dried apricots from Costco, for about $3.50 for 2 lbs…they are VERY sweet and wonderful for this bark too!

Holiday-Friendly Recipes + Umeshu-kan (Japanese vegan jello shot)

Cream Puff

Just thought I’d round up some holiday-friendly recipes before the Thanksgiving whirlwind (recipes from this blog and tasty-looking recipes from other bloggers).

Note – The holidays are probably not the time you want to experiment with recipes you haven’t mastered, but it can be nice to try out new things!

make ahead dishes, for the day or two before

oven multi-tasking

==============================================================

Umeshu-kan

Umeshu-kan mise en place

Umeshu-kan

I have read about people using umeshu (Japanese plum wine) to make kanten desserts. It went on sale the other week, so I pounced on it! It’s been many, many, many years since I’ve had umeshu. I quite forgot that it is VERY potent, like any other fruit-based liquer.

I made a very small amount of umeshu-kan, just enough to test. I’ve never had a Jello Shot, but I think it’s similar…except that it’s fancy and delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup boiling water;
  • 1/2 cup of umeshu;
  • 1″ x 2″ rectangle of agar-agar if using the sheet form (least expensive form of agar-agar).

I poured out all of the boiling water into a large mug, then returned 1/4 cup to the saucepot. I threw in the agar-agar, making sure it really melted all the way. Then I added the umeshu, let it heat up, and put it in a mold. I let it set in the fridge for about 1.5 hr. It was ready for eating. So I and my taste testers sample it. It was SO good. But I could not have very much of it because of the potency (made with distilled liquor!). Very good with a big cup of black tea.

============================================

Container Gardening Update

My two first broccoli rapa (container-grown). They were delish!

in the container

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

My Grandma’s Cranberry Salad – holiday recipe

People love this salad. It’s my third grandma’s. Red-headed woman from Nebraska. Force of nature. And cook extraordinaire. Here’s my rendition.

My Third Grandma’s Cranberry Salad

  • 1 bag of fresh cranberries;
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts;
  • 3 organic navel oranges, sectioned and chopped broadly after removing pith and skin – save the skin for zest*;
  • 3 Granny Smith or other tart apples, chopped broadly (I like to leave the skin on for color);
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of orange zest;
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar; and
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.

Wash the fresh cranberries. Throw out any berries that are discolored or soft. Throw them into the food processor. Put them into a mixing bowl and add everything else. Mix. Be sure to taste-test for sweetness – you might want more or less sugar. Refrigerate overnight (if possible). At least for 4 hours, to let it all come together. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving 2012 Update: check out the sauce for this salad!

Photo credit: a friend’s son took the picture above (and I cropped the picture to make for the extreme closeup effect) at my friend’s 2007 Christmas party, where I served this salad. I think I also served it at their 2006 Thanksgiving!

*I like for these to be organic especially because I am using the zest, and I’m guessing the peel has the greatest potential for exposure to pesticides and herbicides.