Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Sliders

With your typical Thanksgiving meal, there is usually way too much culinary landscape to traverse and savor it all properly. My favorite part, outside of time with fam and the James Bond marathon, is the leftover turkey sammich. There's no recipe for this, it must be assembled with whatever you have leftover. Multi-grain roll, cold turkey, cold stuffing, warm gravy, fresh black pepper. That is what I am talking about. Roger Moore is classic, but Daniel Craig is badass. And no, George Lazenby doesn't get any votes.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Turkey and Spinach Stuffed Cannelloi

Do you have a loaf of crusty bread and a bottle of merlot or zinfandel that doesn't know what to do with themselves?

Turkey Spinach Stuffed Cannelloni

16 large cannelloni or manicotti
1 LB. ground turkey
8 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and sans liquid
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 medium yellow onion, minced
8 oz. mozzarella, shredded
8 oz. ricotta
1 egg, beaten lightly
1 TB fresh basil, minced finely, or 2 ts dried basil
1 ts dried oregano
3 C pasta sauce
1/2 C parmigiano-reggiano, freshly grated

Fire up the hotbox to 375 F. Brown the turkey over medium heat on the stovetop, set aside to cool slightly. Cook the pasta shells until al dente, toss with EVOO so they don't stick together. Ensure the spinach has most of the liquid removed, chop finely and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the turkey, garlic, onion, ricotta, mozzarella, egg, basil, oregano, and S&P to taste and mix well.

Place a few spoonfuls of pasta sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish. Stuff the shells with the mixture using a spoon, or place mixture in a plastic bag and snip the corner to pipe the shells, which is way easier than using the spoon method. And why did I just think of that now?

Top the shells with more pasta sauce and then the parmigiano-reggiano, reserving a little.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the cheese has browned. Top with remaining parm cheese and let cool for 5 minutes. Grab that crusty bread and a glass of Ravenswood California Zinfandel, get yourself a couple shells, and enjoy.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Peppered Pork Tenderloin Crostini with Mango-Red Onion Marmalade

Recipes for party appetizers that can be prepared ahead of time are great for spending time with your guests instead of spending time with your stove. Yes, I did cut and paste that directly from Martha Stewart's website. The variations to something-on-a-crostini are endless of course, this version can be modified however you like. The contrast of the peppery bite to the sweet tang of the mango-red onion marmalade is quite tasty. There will be leftover marmalade, and that will be a good thing. The taste of the end result is a contradiction to how easy these guys are to make.

Pork Tenderloin Crostini with Mango-Red Onion Marmalade-
makes twenty pieces

Mango-Red Onion Marmalade-
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 cup dry red wine
3 TB red wine vinegar
1/2 ts salt
1/2 C mango, finely diced
1 ts fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large saucepan, sweat the onion in EVOO over medium-low heat until softened, about 20 minutes. Add the sugar and stir until incorporated. Next, add the red wine vinegar and then the red wine, stirring while adding. Add a pinch of salt and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, until the onions are dark and caramelized. Remove from heat and add the mango once cool. Can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Pork Tenderloin-
1 tenderloin, about 1 lb, silver skin removed
2 TB freshly-cracked black pepper
1 TB kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375 F, place rack in lower third of oven. The tenderloin should be at room temperature, out of the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Spread the pepper on a sheet pan and roll the tenderloin to coat evenly. Sprinkle on all sides with salt. If using a thermometer, insert into thickest part of loin. Bake until the internal temp is 145 F, remove from oven and tent lightly with foil for 15 minutes. Transfer to fridge and cool for about 2-3 hours. Once cool, slice about 1/3" thick.

1 large French baguette, sliced about 1/2" thick on the bias

Toast the baguette slices on a grill pan or under the broiler on each side. Place a slice of the pork tenderloin on each slice, then top with the marmalade. A small sprig of cilantro on top of that and you have pretty food. I skipped that step, as they looked tasty enough for me at that point.