All posts for the month November, 2009

Egg Tostada

Egg Tostada

Okay, I’m back and it’s #meatlessmonday time!

Yeah, I know it’s been a few weeks and I feel real bad about it, but I shall make it up to vegetarians everywhere I promise.  But enough of that for now, on to

Fried Egg Tostadas!

I wanted to do something a bit fancier for tonight’s post.  For instance, at some point in time I am going to expose my version of Jasper Mirabile’s recipe for green lentil soup (or you know, I might just ask him for it).  However, quite frankly, things just didn’t go as planned tonight between forgetting to pack BWD, Jr.’s swimming trunks and the fact I hadn’t eaten much all day.  So I gave up on anything fancy and instead whipped up a little Mexican sauce, fried up some eggs and happily went to town.

By the way, I promise you, my food tasted better than that picture.  Tonight was all about rush jobs, even with the picture!

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Homemade Gyoza

Homemade Gyoza

Okay, last one I swear.  It’s just having to eat the same thing four days in a row really gets my creativity going.  So in this post for Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, we’re going to make

Homemade Dumplings with Leftover Turkey

So, I’ve got a rule when it comes to creating turkey day leftovers dishes: escape the traditional Thansgiving flavors.  On days four through twenty of Turkey Day leftover eating, the problem isn’t that we don’t love turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, etc.  We all still do!  The problem is eating the same thing from November 25th to December 25th is boring!!!

So, we are taking Turkey to the Orient with this recipe.  It’s just a simple dumpling recipe using storebought gyoza or wonton wraps.  No fuss, no muss.  Just a delicious turkey dish completely different than what you’ve been eating!

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Basil for Pesto

Basil for Pesto

As I said last time, if you are like me, you’re probably still pretty tired of turkey leftovers.  So, here’s another recipe for what you can do with your turkey to fix a meal that lets you escape from the same flavors you’ve been eating for the last four days!

Yes, that means it’s time for

Turkey Pesto Pasta with Leftover Turkey

Nothing says Thanksgiving relief to me like Italian food.  That may sound strange, but every since I was a kid, my dad and I would make lasagna every Thanksgiving night because it, in no way, tasted liked the Turkey Day meal we had had at lunch which would invariably turn into the Thanksgiving meal we’d be eating for the next week.

And while the thought did occur to me to make a turkey-rich bolognese (meat sauce), I figured I’d take Thanksgiving leftovers in a new direction.  I’d saute them and cook them with a creamy pesto.  Calorie rich, sure.  But I’m betting most of us aren’t starting our post-Turkey Day diets until after the leftovers are gone.  Or New Year’s…

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Okay, I don’t know about you, but I am about sick of turkey leftovers.  Yes, Thanksgiving dinner was great…like four days ago.  But now, I want something new and different.  Something that in no way tastes like Thanksgiving dinner.  Something like

Turkey Black Bean Soup

Ah…this recipe takes me back.  The first article I ever wrote for BIAO Magazine was a Black Friday special that used Thanksgiving leftovers for a quick, healthy meal you could fix after a long day of Black Friday shopping.  With that being said, this is not a revisiting of that recipe.  It is a reimagining!  I am tooking the same basic concept and using more spices and peppers for a Mexican-inspired flavor since, at this point, I do not want to eat anything that even vaguely reminds me of Turkey Day leftovers.

With that being said, if you have some leftover mashed potatoes, we’ll be using them as an optional thing little extra for the bowl!

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Turkey Leftovers

Turkey Leftovers

Quick tip if you still have turkey bones lying around.   Whatever you do, don’t throw away those bones.  Locked inside your turkey carcass is the key to the most amazing turkey stock you’ve ever had in your life.   With that stock you can make delicious gravies, soups, stuffings, vegetables…anything you want.  It’s so easy.

So, let’s make

Turkey Stock

Now, the most basic way to make stock is to just put the bones in a pot, add water, and come back in two hours.

There is nothing wrong with that.  It makes good stock, but let’s see if we can’t gild this lily a bit.

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Feed It Forward

One of my buddies just forwarded me a $10 gift certificate to the restuarant of my choosing courtesy of’s Feed It Forward.  I had never heard of Feed It Forward, but is allowing you, me, anyone to give out 30 FREE $10 gift certifates everyday between now and Christmas.

Give To You Friends, Give to the Community

I’m pretty excited about Feed It Forward and it’s not just for the free $10 to a restaurant of my choosing. 

Let’s face it: times are tough, even though economists are falling over themselves to say the economy is doing better, I know I’m not seeing any benefit.  Money is still tight, so I think we should all take a minute to Feed It Forward and you can do a good deed for two ways: your friends and your community.

All you have to do is enter your friend’s name, email, and write a little message and they get $10.   Helped a friend…check.

Now, your friend goes out to eat, uses their gift certificate, maybe orders a little dessert or something over the gift certificate, hopefully tips their waitor and everyone comes out ahead.  Helped the community…check.

So what’s the hold up?  Go, sign up, give $10 gift certificates and have a happy holiday season!  Enjoy!

Nigella Lawson (from

Nigella Lawson (from

(Please note: I have made the executive decision to not begin this blog post with the lyrics to a song that is in anyway related to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”  Nor will I, at any point in time, add them to this post.  You can now feel safe to read on.)

That’s right:

Nigella Lawson is Coming to Unity Temple on December 7th

First, the particulars:

What: Nigella Lawson for Nigella Christmas
When: Monday, December 7, 2009 7:00 pm
Where: Unity Temple on the Plaza, Sanctuary
707 W 47th Street
Kansas City, MO 64112
How: (By phone) 913.384.3126

Food Network superstar and recent Top Chef guest judge (and I probably shouldn’t say this, but one of the most beautiful, authentic women in culinary television) Nigella Lawson will be having a conversation with Vivien Jennings, Founder & President of Rainy Day Books to talk about her new book Nigella Christmas.

If you’ve not seen Nigella Christmas, you really should check it out.  It’s pretty pretty much the definitive guide to doing Christmas with all the elegance and style (and delicious food) you’ve come to expect from Nigella Lawson, but with lots of tips and insights on getting it done without breaking a sweat.  (Seriously, the holidays are stressful enough, right?)

Interested: $35.00 is all you need to get you and a guest admission into the sanctuary and one autographed copy of Nigella Christmas (cover price: $35.00)In other words, you pay for a copy of the book and gain admission to hear Nigella speak in her own musical words.  Hard to beat that.

But wait, there’s more:  There will also be a private reception that will benefit the KU Breast Cancer Center.  Chef Lon Lane will recreate dishes in the cookbook for you to sample.   Even better, admission to the reception is available for the low price of $275.  What an opportunity to eat some delicious food and do something for a great cause.  If you’re going to support breast cancer care, might as well treat yourself! 

The private reception is by invite only and runs from 5-6:30.  If you are interested, call 913.384.3126 as soon as you can. The reception is limited to 50 people. Those slots won’t last forever.

Need More Reason to be Excited About Nigella Lawson?

I got ’em.  There’s the food, which always looks amazing.  There’s the fact that she’s always a breath of fresh air on the Food Network (due in no small part to her grace and her culinary point of view.) 

But for me, Nigella Lawson will always mean one thing: brownies. 

The first time I ever saw her on TV, I had no idea who she was.  She was just this charming, elegant-though-casual food personality with a quirky little smile…who went on to make the most decadent brownies I’ve ever seen in my life.  Chocolate and chocolate chips in the batter, chocolate frosting on top along with more chocolate chips and hazelnuts.

You know how sometimes you see a dish and you end up judging all other dishes by that one, that perfect ideal?  (Like how I judge all osso buco by Chef Jasper Mirabile’s?)  I judge all brownies by the ones she made on that show.  Period.

And that’s why I want to meet her.  I hope I can shake her hand and some of her brownie talent will flow from her to me.  So, that probably won’t happen, but I gotta try!

Anyway, everyone go buy a ticket.  Go see her and hear her talk about her dishes in own words.  If you can, attend the reception beforehand.  You’ll help out cancer research and there might even be brownies which you will enjoy!

2050156234_59f041935a_mThanksgiving in the pinnacle of culinary holidays. For one day, it is every American’s duty to stuff themselves silly with all the food they can eat.

There’s only one small problem: making Thanksgiving cooking can be stressful!  There’s so much to worry about:

  • How can I keep the turkey moist?
  • Do I baste?
  • What are the right sides to go with the meal?
  • How do I keep my annoying relatives as far away as possible?
  • Why do I have to watch the Cowboys and Lions?  Can’t they get any other teams to play on Thanksgiving?
  • What’s a good drink to serve?

I can help with most of these questions, mainly the food ones anyway.  In laws…you’re on your own there!

I am announcing that I have 20 open seats for a special one-day only Thanksgiving cooking teleconference call.  The call will be on Thursday, Novemeber 19th at 7pm Central time.

The first twenty people who use the Contact form to send me an email or DM me on Twitter will receive a number to call in.  Only long distance charges apply.  Call in for as long as you want or as short as you want.  Ask your questions.  It will be the perfect Turkey Day roundup.

Also, as an added bonus, anyone needs it can also sign up Turkey Day 9-1-1.  This means that I will be available to you starting the 23rd from 6 to 10 pm Central time and up to noon on Thanksgiving to answer all your holiday cooking questions.   For the low price of $9.99, you can:

  • Have a phone consult or
  • An email exchange or
  • A Twitter conversation

About your specific turkey problems.  Now, it’s not like I won’t be talking Turkey all that week, but those readers who sign up for the 9-1-1 program will get priority. If you have specific questions, guests with dietary restrictions, or just need to make a darn good turkey, I’m there for you.  If interested, contact me or DM me!

Thanks to Ingrid! for the pic.

Peas from Muffet

Peas from Muffet

Le Sueur Peas

Tonight I got a reminder of how good they are.  Thanks Chef Jasper.

What are Le Sueur Peas?

Good question.  Le Sueur Peas are canned peas (gasp!) apparently canned in Le Sueur, Minnesota, but they are the sweetest, most delicate little peas in the world.  They are smaller than normal peas (like those pictured above), nor do they have the same vibrant green color.  What they do have is an amazingly sweet, yet still earthy flavor.  If you didn’t know any better, if you had them blindfolded you’d probably think you were eating some sort of canned fruit instead of simple peas.

Even better, the broth (okay, canning liquid) they come in is also wonderfully sweet and only a little bit salty.  In fact, I used to drink it straight from the can when I was in high school.  Seriously.

Peas! HUH!  What it is it good for?

Absolutely something.  (Sorry, not sure where that came from exactly.)

No, but seriously, La Sueur peas are great in anything you’d put peas in and a lot of things you might not think of.  For instance:

  • Salads
  • Soup
  • Puree
  • Ice Cream (if you’re on Iron Chef and you need to do something crazy)
  • Pasta
  • Pot Pie
  • Stir Fry
  • Deep fried in fritters
  • In Macaroni and Cheese
  • As a side by themselves
  • On a plane
  • On a train
  • With Green Eggs and Ham

Yes, they are that versatile!

Even better, they are in most grocery stores right next to the regular old boring peas.  Though if you can’t find them, check Shop Zeus.

One of Two Canned Vegetables I’ll Buy

I am not a big fan of canned veggies on the whole because they are full of salt and they have less nutritional value than either fresh or frozen.  However, the Le Sueur peas are so delicate I think they only way they can survive is in a can, which makes them one of two canned vegetables I’ll buy, the other being the occassional sliced mushroom when we are making pizza at home and I am feeling lazy.   (I know what you’re thinking, tomatoes are a fruit!)

So give them a try.  I bet you’ll enjoy!

Thanks to Muffet for the picture.

Fantasy Top Chef

Fantasy Top Chef

I am desperately hoping that tonight we will be treated to another real episode of Top Chef.  Not that I disliked seeing Karla, Casey, and C.J. again, but I am ready for some real Top Chef.  You hear that Bravo?

Per last week, my knockout pick is still Kevin and if Robin is knocked out, I win my knockout pool.  If not, well… how could I not???  Seriously, Robin, love you, but this season you’ve been a hawt mess.  Just saying.

Be back later, but for now follow Thursday Night Smackdown‘s Live Blogging!  (or else)


Okay, real quick.  The standings:

Me: 24
Michele: 20
Josh: 15
Karen: 14
Debbie: 13
Colleen: 13
Elise: 8

Yikes.  Thank goodness for a Michael V win.  That’s about all I have keeping me in first place.  Phew!

With that being said, let’s turn our attention to the dish that sent Robin home: panna cotta. 

First of all, what is panna cotta?

Panna cotta is an Italian dessert, that translates to “cooked cream.”  It is, as Ms. Lawson said, an easy dish to make where heavy cream, milk, and sugar are boiled with gelatin and then allowed to sit for several hours.  No fuss, no muss.

Sadly, given Ms. Lawson’s comments, I had hoped to find a recipe from her on how to make panna cotta, but could not find any.  Instead, here is one from Giada De Laurentiis and another from the BBC  for how to make panna cotta at home.  Seems pretty simple. 

The thing that weirds me out is Giada’s recipe requires six hours to set and the BBC’s 12.  How Robin made hers in 3 I’ll never know.  That’s probably where the firm texture came in: she had to use too much gelatin to make the panna cotta set.

Either that, or she had a better recipe.

Anyway, until next time enjoy!