A true Panzanella is made with stale Italian bread, but croutons can be used in a pinch for a quick week night meal. It also calls for prosciutto, but I rarely have that on hand and have found that bacon works just as well for my family. Personally, I do not like olive oil so have substituted avocado oil and butter. You can also adjust the vegatable combinations to what you have on hand and/or your family’s taste palette. The key is the bread ratio to making this a true Panzanella salad.
At this time of year especially, I have plenty of homemade croutons for the Thanksgiving stuffing making this the perfect time to have this wonderful salad. **I use a combination of sourdough bread and hamburger buns. I tuck away in the freezer all the stale bread for several weeks/months before the holiday season just to have the versatility of flavors.
2 cups stale rustic Italian bread, torn into bite size pieces**
1/8 cup avocado oil
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup baby spinach
1 cup torn romaine leaves
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 English cucumber, halved and sliced
1/2 pound grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
1/2 pound bacon, diced
1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Pepperoncinis, to taste (optional)
DRESSING also see alternate VINAIGRETTE BELOW
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons Golden Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons tequila
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (2 large limes)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, chopped
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1⁄2 cup avocado oil
fresh ground salt and black pepper, to taste
SWEET and SOUR CHICKEN
1/3 cup apricot pineapple jam**
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
scant 1/4 cup grated onion
pinch red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon chili sauce
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
8 ounce can crushed pineapple, WELL drained (reserve juice)
1/2 teaspoon molasses
splash grenadine (for color)
1/4 cup pineapple juice
Fresh ground salt and black pepper, to taste
2-3 pounds chicken thighs##
Sliced scallions for garnish
NOTE ** In many places in this country you can’t buy apricot pineapple jam, but I usually buy a jar of apricot and a jar of pineapple and make my own when I can’t find it already made.
NOTE ## You can use mixed chicken parts just as easily, I just prefer thighs. You can also use boneless chicken, JUST BE SURE to adjust cooking times. Also remember that there won’t be any skin to crisp so chicken will dry out some as well as cook faster. IF USING BONELESS PIECES, I brown them in avocado oil in a skillet before adding and tossing with the sauce.
NOTE:@@ To make scallion rice, I substitute a combination of mainly chicken broth with a little pineapple juice for the water in any rice recipe. I then add 1 tablespoon butter, the scallion whites of the onions and 1/4 cup of the crushed pineapple and then cook per package directions.
It’s Thanksgiving week! The food prep can be overwhelming at time, but over the years I’ve found ways to make Thursday more enjoyable without breaking my back. I did ALL the shopping this morning and one of the first things I did was ALL the tedious chopping for my stuffing vegetables and gravy vegetables. I did a little research and found out I have been using a combination of several methods for years. Mirepoix from the French is plainly diced vegetables cooked with butter (generally) on a gentle heat without browning until soft and flavorful. You are not trying to caramelize, but blend and sweeten the flavors to use as a base for other foods.
A traditional mirepoix is 2 parts onion, 1 part celery and 1 part carrots. This traditional base is then built and layered upon to enhance flavors for building stocks, soups, stews and sauces.
To make mirepoix: Rinse, trim, and peel vegetables — typically two parts onion to one part carrot and one part celery — then chop them into uniform pieces. The shorter the cooking time of your recipe, the smaller the pieces should be, so that they effectively infuse the foods with flavor.
There are of course different names and combinations of vegetables based on the culture. Similar flavor bases include:
Though the cooking technique is probably older, the term “mirepoix” dates from the 18th century and is credited to the chef, Charles Pierre Gaston Francois de Levis, duc de Levis Mirepoix who was the field marshall and ambassador and member of the noble family of Levis, lords of Mirepoix.
Need a quick, easy and pretty side dish for Thanksgiving? I have it right here for you!
CUCUMBER POMEGRANATE SALAD
1/3 cup peanut oil
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons sugar
salt & pepper to taste
I hope you all had a great week and weekend. Mine was so so – just getting things done that will help hubby while I’m down, but I’m not expecting much excitement until after surgery.
This can be a stressful week for many, so let’s start it with a laugh! Just remember that a turkey is JUST a BIG chicken. I’m going to do my Thanksgiving shopping this morning and then won’t eave the house again!
OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE
We finally got a bit of a “COLD” front (at least for here) through yesterday that has lowered temperatures to the fall level finally. I don’t have many hopes for a real winter here, but would like it if the temperatures at least get down to the 60’s for a high and stay there for more than 4 days!
ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE
A banana, tangerine and coffee
AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS
CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR
MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK
FRUIT & COFFEE
FRUIT & COFFEE
WAFFLES & BACON
FRUIT & CHEESE
SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN and SCALLION RICE recipe will post soon
PORK MARSALA recipe will post soon
TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE recipe will post soon and SALAD
SEE MENU BELOW
| MOLASSES CRINKLES recipe will post soon
|| REINDEER NIBBLES recipe will post soon
SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK
HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS
ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY
Only more 16 days until surgery and I can’t be happier! I need to get this behind me and on the road to recovery! I ended up with yet another infection this past week and have been put on house “isolation” for the most part until surgery. Primarily I’m staying away from school children and elderly that may be sick or contagious, washing my hands A LOT, showering A LOT and am on 3 new eye drops to combat the latest issue. I’ve already been in for 2 weeks other than doctor appointments and am looking forward to get out and doing the Thanksgiving shopping this morning and after that will only leave the house on the day of pre-op at the hospital and then on the day of surgery. It’s getting old being so sequestered, but has become a necessary evil. We even had to cancel our trip to Santa’s Wonderland. 🙁 There’s always next year. 😀
FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA
I got hubby a new stocking this year and it is really cute. Mine is an UGG red, white and green plaid that I really like too.
Then, there is Gunner, at 15 3/4 he’s still trudging along, but spends most his time chasing rabbits in his sleep in his favorite bed these days.
As I was selecting a Thanksgiving Menu this year I was struck by the thought that much of the menu may not have even been at the first Thanksgiving which prompted me to do some research.
According to HISTORY.COM much of what we eat today for Thanksgiving is vastly different from the First Thanksgiving.
As I was selecting a Thanksgiving Menu this year I was struck be the thought that much of the menu may not have even been at the first Thanksgiving which prompted me to do some research.
Today for many Americans, their traditional Thanksgiving meal includes many “seasonal” dishes such as roast turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie.
As an annual celebration of the harvest and its bounty, moreover, Thanksgiving falls under a category of festivals that truly spans cultures, continents and millennia. Thanksgiving itself dates back to November 1621. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. But, it wasn’t until 1863, during the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
Although the American concept of Thanksgiving developed in the colonies of New England, its roots can be traced back to the other side of the Atlantic. Both the Separatists who came over on the Mayflower and the Puritans who arrived soon after brought with them a tradition of providential holidays—days of fasting during difficult or pivotal moments and days of feasting and celebration to thank God in times of plenty. Historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores. In ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the fall harvest. Thanksgiving also bears a resemblance to the ancient Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot.
The first autumn harvest for the newly arrived Pilgrims corresponded with the Wampanoag Indians autumn harvest celebration at Plymouth. This event is widely regarded as America’s First Thanksgiving. Much of the local fare would have been from the Indians harvest.
In November 1621, now remembered as America’s “first Thanksgiving”, although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time. The festival lasted for three days.
No exact records exist of the actual menu, but Edward Winslow journaled that after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful the colony’s governor, William Bradford sent 4 men hunting for wild turkey, which was plentiful in the region and common food fare for both the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians. It is also possible that the hunters also returned with ducks and geese. He was organizing a celebratory feast a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit.
Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. As for the dressing or stuffing, herbs, onions and nuts may have been added to the birds for flavor.
The first Thanksgiving’s attendees almost certainly got their fill of meat. Winslow wrote that the Wampanoag guests arrived with an offering of five deer. Culinary historians speculate that the deer was roasted on a spit over a smoldering fire and that the colonists might have used some of the venison to whip up a hearty stew.
Local vegetables that likely appeared on the table include onions, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots and perhaps peas. Corn, which records show was plentiful at the first harvest, might also have been served, but not in the way most people enjoy it now. In those days, the corn would have been removed from the cob and turned into cornmeal, which was then boiled and pounded into a thick corn mush or porridge that was occasionally sweetened with molasses.
Fruits indigenous to the region included blueberries, plums, grapes, gooseberries, raspberries and, of course cranberries, which Native Americans ate and used as a natural dye. While the Pilgrims might have been familiar with cranberries by the first Thanksgiving, they wouldn’t have made sauces and relishes with the tart orbs. The Pilgrims would surely have depleted their sugar supplies by this time. Records show that adding sugar to cranberries and using the mixture as a relish didn’t actually happen until about 50 years later.
Because of their location and proximity to the coast, many culinary historians believe that much of the Thanksgiving menu consisted of many seafood entrees that are no longer on today’s menus. Mussels in particular were abundant in New England and could be easily harvested because they clung to rocks along the shoreline. The colonists occasionally served mussels with curds, a dairy product with a similar consistency to cottage cheese. Lobster, bass, clams and oysters might also have been part of the feast.
Whether they were mashed, roasted, white or sweet, potatoes were not at the first Thanksgiving as they had yet to arrive to the north American region. Present on the menu would have been turnips and possibly groundnuts.
As for pumpkin pie, pumpkins and squashes were indigenous to the New England area, but the settlers hadn’t yet constructed an oven and lacked both the butter and flour to have made a pie crust. Some accounts do imply that early settlers improvised by hollowing out pumpkins, filling the shells with milk, honey and spices to make a custard, then roasting the gourds whole in hot ashes. The lack of sugar and an oven would have also eliminate pies, cakes or other desserts from the menu.
Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.
Pilgrims didn’t hold their second Thanksgiving celebration until 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well.
During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.
Turkey, because it contains tryptophan often gets blamed for the drowsiness and the need for a nap after the big Thanksgiving meal, but studies suggest it is really the carbohydrate-rich sides and desserts that allow tryptophan to enter the brain.
In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusett Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.
Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.
New York, In 1817, became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln, finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.”
It was Abraham Lincoln who scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when FDR moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.
In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends.
Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.
Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.
For some scholars, the jury is still out on whether the feast at Plymouth really constituted the first Thanksgiving in the United States and many Native Americans take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, and especially to schoolchildren. In their view, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of millions. Since 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a “National Day of Mourning.” Similar events are held in other parts of the country. Historians have recorded other ceremonies of thanks among other European settlers in North America that actually predate the Pilgrims’ celebration.
This is another recipe from the Doxie Greenspan meme I belonged to several years ago. This is another of my favorites that is perfect for this time of year.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of ground allspice
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
about 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, for topping
NOTE: Dried cranberries are an excellent substitution for the golden raisins in this recipe.
BISCUIT TOPPED CHICKEN POT PIES 6 servings
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 LARGE Vidalia onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
1 large stalk celery, diced
2 + 1/2 cups flour
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
2 cups spinach leaves
Fresh ground black pepper and salt, to taste
OPTIONAL: I sometimes add a can of Le Seur peas for color more than anything.
1 1/2 cups finely grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons COLD unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces
1 cup whole buttermilk
Today would have been my dad’s 80th birthday I can’t believe he’s been gone 25 years. I still sometimes pick up the phone to call him and talk before I realize…
ANYWAY I digress. My cousin also passed away back in 1998 and her sister and I bake a cake for her every year on her birthday – most times we even make significantly different flavors, but I always make the same one on daddy’s birthday, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, his favorite.
This year I decided to try a new recipe from Damaris Phillips – I just LOVE her. She is so much fun, and REAL, plus she likes to experiment so I know she’d be okay with the changes I made to her recipe.
PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE
Total:1 hr 15 min Active:25 min Yield: 8 to 12 servings
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon molasses
20-ounce can sliced pineapple, drained and juice reserved
20-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and juice reserved
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup pineapple rum
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/3 QUALITY flaked coconut
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons PURE vanilla extract
1/4 cup reserved pineapple juice (from the cans)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil
1 LARGE egg
Combine the cake ingredients in this fashion:
NOTE: YOU CAN NOW USE THE LEFTOVER RUM FOR A COCKTAIL WHILE YOU WAIT!
I originally found this old recipe in some things of my grandmother. It is from an old cookbook she evidently bought at Knott’s Berry Farm. I’ve modernized it to our tastes, but I love that they are on skewers, making it a great party recipe. They are also great on the grill – I use fire wires when I grill them to make it easier to turn them regularly.
BRANDING IRON MEATBALLS
2 pounds ground sirloin
2 eggs,, beaten
1 LARGE shallot, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Panko crumbs**
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
Stainless steel Skewers
pineapple chunks, cherry tomatoes or green and red pepper chunks
NOTE:** You may need to add more to achieve the desired consistency for the meatball to hold together well.
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2/3 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup apricot pineapple jam**
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablesspoon Frank’s hot sauce
NOTE:** Recipe called for Knott’s Orange Honey, but I haven’t been able to find it so substituted the jam.
Christmas is right around the corner so I thought I’d share one of my favorite holiday recipes. My great aunt who I only got to see a couple times a year used to make these every year special for me and I would wait out on the front steps for her arrive just to see them and know they were there. She always made them soooooooooo pretty and perfect! They are delicious and they are a quick, easy, no bake treat and they’re so pretty to add to the cookie & candy tray selections.
CORN FLAKE HOLLY WREATHS
(these are better when they are made a few days ahead)
Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.