choose-your-own-adventure cooking

At the risk of overstating my enthusiasm... Jackpot! Eureka! Here's a choose-your-own adventure recipe for awesome couscous or orzo.

This is my friend Kim's trick for turning plain couscous into a yummy side dish and since she's told me about it, we've been enjoying many variations on the theme. Through extensive experimentation I can vouch that orzo works well too (just add a bit of olive oil to the mix.)

The recipe? Cook couscous or orzo, then add something green (fresh parsley, cilantro or mint), some toasted nuts (favs being pecans, almonds or pine nuts), the zest and some juice of something citrusy (preferably lemon, but lime or orange will do), and some dried fruit (may I suggest apricots or currants?)

And if you want to go the extra mile, try adding sauteed celery, onion, or some plain chickpeas. Never a dull moment.


turkey hash

We aren't really in the season of big turkey dinners anymore, but if you ever find yourself with some leftover turkey...

We were lucky enough to be sent home with the leftovers from our Christmas feast with friends. I used nearly all of it in some 'turkey hash with mashed potato crust.' The result was delicious, and it felt so unlike the original meal that it hardly felt like we were eating the same thing for days.

It's kind of an 'anything goes' type of meal, but here's a basic recipe, adapted from Real Simple...to which I added corn and didn't use as much onion, didn't use any broth but relied on watered down gravy for all the liquid and flavour, and broiled at the end to obtain that golden crust.

turkey hash
serves 4

about 4 Tbs butter
1/2 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced small
2 celery stalks, diced small
4 Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 - 3 C leftover turkey, chopped or shredded
1/2 C leftover gravy
1/2 - 1 C chicken stock, or watered-down gravy
2 C leftover mashed potatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt a bit of the butter and saute onion for a couple of minutes. Add carrots and celery and continue cooking until carrots are starting to soften. Add half the parsley and the turkey. Stir to combine. Stir in gravy and some broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until thickened a bit, adding enough liquid to make a thin, stewy sauce (only about 5 mins.) Stir in remaining parsley and transfer to 8x8 baking dish.

Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a medium pot and add mashed potatoes, stirring in the melted butter until warm. Spread potatoes over hash and bake about 20 mins, then broil a few minutes until golden.


felted stockings

My cousin gave the baby a beautiful blue stocking, made out of a felted sweater. Aren't those snowflakes the perfect addition? Now I want to make Jeff and I felted sweater stockings to match -- it's just the kind of low-commitment crafting I can handle.
One more to go...


twenty ten

Happy New Year!