Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thanksgiving Samosas

A twist on Thanksgiving leftovers

A twist on Thanksgiving leftovers

Thanksgiving was so great this year. My mom, my sister and my brother-in-law came to visit from Connecticut. The three of them combined with my small family made for a total of six at the table. It was a small, quality group. My mom is very traditional and she was front and center when I created the Thanksgiving menu.  It consisted of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, cranberry sauce, rolls, pickles, and olives. All followed up by the standard apple and pumpkin pie. We busted a move from tradition with a side of quinoa for the vegetarians in the group (running with scissors, I know!). We had a wonderful meal, great conversation and a nice, cozy time together. One of my favorite parts to the meal was the Gratitude Game we played at the end (Google “Gratitude Questions” and you can play too!).

The next day, I started thinking about what I could make with the leftovers that is non-traditional.  Since I didn’t play the “non-traditional card” on Thanksgiving Day, I figured I could do something fun with the leftovers. I pulled out my cookbooks for inspiration and found it right away. Samosas with turkey leftovers inside! That was it. I hesitated for just a split second thinking, “this borders on pie” (given that Samosas are essentially savory food inside pie shell). But then I realized, dare I say, I’m getting pretty good with the pastry shell.  And so, I forged ahead, making the pastry dough and gathering my leftovers to assemble these tasty nuggets.

Oh, one last thing…. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not BRING these Samosas anywhere. My boys scarfed them down in what seemed like nanoseconds.  Every now and then they would take a small breath and utter, “these are killer”!  Enjoy and happy holidays.

Ingredients

Dough:
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp paprika
2/3 cup cold butter, cubed
2/3 cup cold water

Egg wash:
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk

Filling:
Leftovers!  This can include anything in your fridge.  I used turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. I wished I had more leftover veggies, because I definitely would have stuffed a few of these with veggies! Have gravy on the side for dipping!

Method

To make the dough, place flour, salt, baking powder, turmeric, and paprika in a food processor. Add butter and process until sand-like, approximate 10 seconds. Add water and pulse until mixture just comes together. Wrap dough in saran wrap and allow it to rest in refrigerator for at least an hour.

When ready, line up leftovers and take dough out of fridge and preheat the oven to 350. On lightly floured surface, roll out dough and cut into circles approximately 5 inches in diameter (I used the top of a large yogurt container to make the cut outs). Place approximately ¼ cup of filling on half of the circle of dough. Fold the dough over to make a half moon. Seal the edges well by pinching dough together. I used a folk to push down the edges and make little ridges.

Place samosas on parchment lined baking sheet. Mix 1 egg with 1 Tbsp of milk to make egg wash. Brush each samosas with the egg wash. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. They can be shallow fried if you prefer in 2 inches of vegetable oil until golden brown.

Gobble, gobble!

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Knock-Out Vegan Pumpkin Pie

V stands for Very Tasty

V stands for Very Tasty

This pie was a revelation. The pie itself is fantastic, and is a stand-alone favorite, V or no V. It comes from the November issue of Self, the one with UFC star Ronda Rousey on the cover. That’s where the revelation comes in. I’ve been staring at that cover for a solid two weeks, flipping to the pie occasionally to remind myself of what ingredients not to forget this time I go to the store. Each time I flipped past the story on Ronda, looking at the pictures but not tempted to read a word of it (or to even google UFC. It’s Ultimate Fight Championship. Pretend you knew that—I won’t tell.

Then she got knocked out. Suddenly I heard her name pop up a lot. Even my husband commented on the great Ronda Rousey losing a match. Now, give me a loser and you have my interest. It’s not schadenfreude, but a strong aversion to packaged success stories…especially when they double as fashion spreads.

Anyway, I finally read the article (in which she is interviewed by a comedian) and it was hugely compelling: revealing, honest, unusual. She did talk about leaving a legacy as an undefeated champ. So much for that, but by losing she got at least one person who was only interested in pie to read her story and now care about her.  I am still not sure I could actually watch a UFC match—way too much blood, guaranteed—but go Ronda.

Now, on to pie. This is awesome. I made it with kabocha squash that I had baked. You could also use fresh pumpkin or butternut squash or the canned stuff. I can’t use the canned stuff, having recently been burned by a legacy can in the pantry. Oops.

With pumpkin pie the Vegan situation means no eggs, milk or cream in the pie and no butter in the crust. Coconut milk subs for the liquid and somehow enough squash just makes the egg factor go away. The crust—where you can really do some dietary damage with pies—is pretty darned healthy, and even easier to put together than a graham cracker crust. It’s a total win. Top it with whipped coconut cream for the full V experience, or with regular whipped cream from happy cows. It’s time to get your pomegranate game on, so you can get fancy and sprinkle some of those on top too. Either way, you’re going to wish you had room for seconds.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1  Pecan-Coconut Crust, frozen
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 can (13 oz) coconut milk

Method:

Heat oven to 375°. In a bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Add vanilla, pumpkin puree and coconut milk and mix until well combined. Place frozen shell on a baking sheet and slowly pour in filling. Bake on center rack of oven 25 minutes. Rotate 180 degrees and continue baking until filling is set and no longer looks wet at center, 20 to 30 minutes more. (Mine took longer. No eggs means it won’t set as firmly but it will set more as it cools.) Cool 2 to 3 hours. Serve lightly chilled.

Pecan Coconut Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preparation:

In a medium skillet over medium heat, toast pecans until fragrant; set aside and cool. Reduce heat to medium-low and toast coconut, stirring, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes; cool. In a food processor, process pecans, coconut, sugar and salt until mixture is fine and sticks together slightly. Pour into an ungreased 9″ pie pan. Press into bottom and sides of pan. Freeze until solid. Makes 1 crust.

pumpkin-pie-rock

 

 

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Fry Your Grains Out Apple Fennel Salad

Fried-Grains-Fennel

Get your ancient on: Apple Fennel Salad with Roasted Buckwheat, and a side of Crunchy Spelt.

I am not trendy. The Dansko Clogs I wear 360 days a year make this clear. But as your liaison between the glut of food blogs out there, it is my responsibility to stay a bit on top of food trends, which brings us face to face with fried grains. Like the ones in crispy brown rice “kabbouleh.” Let’s all take a moment to say… DUH. Frying grains makes them taste even better. Doubling down on trendiness let’s consider fried ancient grains. Among others I’m looking at you, spelt.

Frying grains requires cooking them first, spreading them out to dry, and then deep frying them. I’ve done it a few times now, because it turns out fried grains are just as addictive as fried anything. That said, it’s a bit of a pain if you don’t happen to have an Ancient Grains Fry Baby on hand. It was enough to seek a slacker alternative.

This recipe came to me from Rocky Mountain correspondent Tania (ahem, cranberry chutney, get on it!), who got it from the Bitten Word who got it from Cooking Light. The provenance should assure you that it has been thoroughly vetted and approved. It is delicious, refreshing, colorful, different and—aside from frying the spelt— incredibly easy. It would make an excellent Thanksgiving side for non-traditionalists, and the red and green colors take it the distance through the holidays.

As for the slacker alternative, on a hunch Tania and I decided to steal from our new favorite weird recipe and use roasted buckwheat instead of the spelt. The result was awesome— it was way easier than deep frying and the buckwheat lent a satisfying earthy crunch that requires less jaw strength than the fried spelt. That said, one of us had an issue with soggy leftovers the next day. The solution: if you go the buckwheat route, sprinkle it on each serving so you can store the leftover salad and grains separately. I’ve included the original recipe as well as the (gluten free I swear) roasted buckwheat option. People, it’s time to start your Thanksgiving engines!

Shaved Apple and Fennel Salad with Crunchy Spelt

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 fennel bulb, halved and cored
1 small green apple, quartered and cored
1 small red apple, quartered and cored
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup Crunchy Fried Spelt or roasted buckwheat (recipes below)

Method:

Combine first 6 ingre­dients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

Cut fennel and apples into 1/16-inch slices using a mandoline (or a good sharp knife). Add fennel, apples, parsley leaves, and Crunchy Fried Spelt to vinaigrette; toss well to combine.

Crunchy Fried Spelt

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked spelt (about 1 cup uncooked grains)
6 cups canola oil or peanut oil

Method:

Line a jelly-roll pan with several layers of paper towels. Spread spelt out into a thin layer on paper towels. Let stand 1 to 2 hours to dry out surface moisture, stirring grains occasionally.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until a thermometer submerged in oil registers 375°. (Do not use a smaller pot; moisture in the grains will cause the oil to bubble up vigorously.) Add 1/2 cup spelt to hot oil; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until grains are browned and crisp. (Maintain oil temperature at 375°, and fry in small batches.) Remove fried spelt from pan with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining spelt, 1/2 cup at a time.

Slacker Roasted Buckwheat

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Buckwheat groats
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • a healthy pinch or two of kosher salt

Method:

Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Combine buckwheat and olive oil. Stir to coat. Spread on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until browned, stirring at least once along the way. Cool. Store in airtight container.

 

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