Thursday, October 21, 2010

2010.10.21 - Brie and Cranberry Turkey Burgers, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apple Cake

This week's menu was inspired by some leftovers, a sale, a monstrous vegetable, and my habit of picking fruit to excess!

Brie and Cranberry Turkey Burgers

I had some brie left over from last week, which immediately reminded me of this recipe.  The cranberries felt like fall, so that was extra inspiration to make it!  I used ground turkey instead of beef because it was on sale (buy one get one, thanks Safeway!) and healthier than beef.  Everyone was surprised by how good turkey burgers could be!  I think the key was using 93/7 lean turkey instead of 98 or 99%, plenty of salt and pepper to season, and the luscious melted brie on top.  I omitted the scallions from the recipe (couldn't find any at Trader Joe's with their inconsistent veggie availability), but liked the cranberry and butter lettuce accompaniments to the burger.  Next time I think I would do a chutney of sorts made with fresh cranberries and that would be even better.  Maybe a cranberry bacon jam...

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Last week, there were these amazing still-on-the-stalk brussels sprouts at Trader Joe's.  Regrettably, I did not buy them then and when I went back, they were gone!  I had to make do with a bag of brussels sprouts already taken off the stalk.  I had no idea they grew that way!  I omitted the garlic (allergic!) and walnuts from the recipe, but it was still very good and the lemon juice on top definitely made a huge difference.  Once again, everyone was surprised by how good brussels sprouts could be!

Apple Cake

I love doing "migrant labor farm work", as A describes it.  Really this means going out to a farm for some u-pick!  I ended up with over 25 pounds of apples, so it will be a lot of apple desserts from now until they are gone!  I picked this cake because it is gluten free, although ended up just using all purpose flour when I found out my gluten intolerant friend wasn't coming to dinner.  I used cinnamon instead of cardamom and about twice the amount of apples as the recipe called for.  The accompaniment was cinnamon whipped cream.  I had a couple of issues with this dessert.  First, it was very difficult to tell when it was done.  My tester came out clean, but when I was eating it, the middle seemed gummy, like it hadn't been cooked all the way.  Second, I think it would definitely be best served warm.  It smelled and tasted really appealing when I made it, but when I served it cold, it just fell flat to me.  Third, the cake seemed kind of bland, like I needed to add more salt, or some more spices.

K brought banana cake with coconut cream from Monsoon's recipe, and it was delicious!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

2010.10.14 - Chicken Normandy with Crispy Kale

The recipe selection was driven by a couple of factors: I was returning from a week-long vacation the day before, so didn't have time or energy for fanciness (no dessert!), I had some frozen chicken breast in the freezer, and I had kale I needed to use up (surprisingly my kale stayed fresh for over a week in my fridge).  I paired it with random cheeses leftover in my fridge + a cinnamon topped cheese from Trader Joe's I couldn't resist buying + crackers.  Even better, apple cake and banana bread were brought as desserts!

Chicken Normandy

It isn't the most attractive or healthy dish (I used a whole stick of butter) in the world, but I liked the flavors.  I used bone-in split chicken breasts instead of legs because that's what I had and I prefer white meat anyway.  Calvados is a little pricey for me, so I bought a little airplane bottle size of brandy for the sauce :)  I also used herbes de provence instead of thyme because I prefer it.  I think next time I would put the carved chicken back into the sauce to incorporate it well instead of just spooning the gravy over it. 

Crispy Kale

I still can't tell if I like kale.  The crispy kale tasted ok (although I oversalted it, which some people liked just fine!) but kale just seems to get constantly stuck in my teeth, making it unpleasant to eat.