Thanksgiving with all the Trimmings

Thanksgiving is approaching and it's time to gather recipes for your dinner.  I've created a Brandy & Cranberry dressing using Jones Dairy Farm All Natural Pork Roll.  I love making Thanksgiving dinner.  There has been a few disasters over the years, but they've made great memories.  What are your favorite memories?

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Salsa of the Tropics

This is a great time of year.  Gardens are pumping out tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and spicy jalapenos just to name a few garden favorites.  I've got a favorite recipe for you.  It calls for mangos, but today I used peaches.   You can mix it up and use both if you have them.   It's SO easy!  All you have to do is chop. Peaches will be the theme for the next week of so.   We made a road trip to North Carolina last week and picked up 12 boxes.  We were in Asheville last year at this time and discovered the farmers' market, and the rows and rows of peaches.  This year we made the journey to fill the car.  I guess it kind of makes them local... to someone!   I can happily report that all the boxes found homes.

Ready for the Heat
Ready for the Heat

With the peaches that were a little bumped and bruised, I made the salsa.  Feel free to adjust the heat with the jalapeno.   I like to serve this with tortilla chips, but it's also great on pork tenderloin... hot off the grill.

Ingredients for perfect salsa
Ingredients for perfect salsa

To print this recipe, click HERE

Salsa of the Tropics

  Based on recipe from Great Good Food

1-2  mangos, chopped (or 2 peaches)

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 cup chopped green, red  or yellow bell pepper 1/2  teaspoon salt- or to taste 5-6  cup plum tomatoes, chopped

1 TBSP cumin 1 medium red onion, chopped

1 chopped jalapeno pepper

1-2 tsp. Sugar

1 TBSP vinegar

Stir together all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Cover and chill  a few hours before serving.

 

Peach Salsa and Chips
Peach Salsa and Chips

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

simple pleasures are the best.  

Don't you love finding a little cash in the coat hanging in the closet for months?  A bouquet of garden zinneas?  Someone holding the door open for you with a smile.    I've got a short, sweet simple pleasure of a  recipe for you.   Cherry tomatoes are popping everywhere.   We  eat them like candy around here.  I didn't think they could get any better.  Here's how--   Pick up a pint or two at your market and you're half way there.   No, you're more than half way there.

img_7115-2
img_7115-2

Slice them in half, then toss with just a litte bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast at 200 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours.  Your house will smell great, and you'll have rich gems to toss in pasta, on a pizza, or chill for the top of a salad.

img_7120-5
img_7120-5

It's so easy, and the results are SO good!

finished-tomatoes-6
finished-tomatoes-6

To print this recipe, click HERE

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

2 pints cherry tomatoes

1-2 T olive oil

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.  Slice tomatoes and toss with oil, and scatter in a single later on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.   Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 1 and 1/2 hours or until tomatoes are wrinkled and fragrant.   Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.

 

Tomato Cheese Tartlets

First things first.  I know it's wrong, but I like to spell tartlet, tartlette.  It just seems more fitting for a small French pastry. Smell is such a huge part of taste.  If you're stuffy, nothing seems to taste good.    There are some smells that make you happy with just a whiff.   This recipe combines those  fragrant and delicous ingredients.  Basil, fresh tomatoes, garlic, baking puff pastry, and goat cheese.   I went out to the tomato patch to check on the progress, and ta-da!    I picked about a dozen San Marzanos.  These are amazing little guys.  They look like a Roma, but are even meatier, and more flavorful.  They're that tomato of choice for wood-fired pizza makers in Italy.   They're one the key ingredients in Pizza Margherita.    Don't you love the smell of tomato plants?

And the basil...what a punch!

tart-ingredients-3
tart-ingredients-3

Wait!  For those of you who just read the word puff pastry and are ready to move on, please stay.   You'll be using a sheet of pastry that you can purchase at the grocery.  All you'll need to do is thaw and unfold it.  Here's your chance to make a beautiful tart that will look like you spent all day.   You could if you wanted to, but you don't have to.   Sometime we'll make puff pastry together.  It takes time, but it's really worth it.

This recipe is part of the French Fridays with Dorie online cooking group.  The recipe comes from Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan.   I'll walk you through the basic steps, just in case you don't have a copy.

First you'll open your thawed box of pastry and unfold it.  Find a bowl or cup that's about 3-4 inches in diamenter and trace four circles.  If the puff pastry has tears where is was folded, gently smoosh it together.  Not too hard though.    Once you have your circles, move the dough to a baking sheet, covered with parchment, and poke with a fork.   This keep the puff pastry from puffing too much.   A way to make sure the dough puffs evenly is to set another sheet of parchement paper and a baking sheet or cooling rack on top.   The dough will still puff and be flaky, just nice and even.

vertical-puff-prep-1
vertical-puff-prep-1

Here's the dough! Super simple.

cooking-rack-on-puff-2
cooking-rack-on-puff-2

After you've removed the puff from the oven, let it cool.  It should be nice and golden.

Puff Pastry Circles
Puff Pastry Circles

Now on to the pesto.  I filled the food processor with basil, garlic, and pine nuts.   Gave it a whirl, when I realized that I didnt' have any parmesan cheese.  Another oops!   No problem.  There's going to be cheese on top, so I added the drizzle of olive oil and had a great tasting topping for the tarts.   Here's the recipe I made:

To print this recipe, click HERE

Basil Pesto 

2-3 cups basil leaves

1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts

2-3 tsp chopped garlic

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (apparently optional)

1/2 cup olive oil, or to desired consistency

salt and pepper to taste

Pulse the basil, garlic, nuts and cheese until to forms a chunky paste.  Drizzle in olive oil until pesto is desired consistency.  Season to taste.

It's so easy!  However, we're in the together and I don't want you to miss out on this tart.   You can buy pesto, and it will be fine.   You can find it in the refrigerated department or the condiment aisle.

Now be creative.  Put a big dollap of pesto on each tart.  Then, slice the tomatoes, and cheese.  If you have one big tomato, place a big 'ol slice on the tart.   I had smaller sized tomatoes, so I made a pinwheel around the tart.   I used both goat cheese and fresh mozarella.  I put the goat cheese around the edges, and the mozarella in the middle, in case it oozed.   Once they were all assembled, I baked mine for about 5 minutes until the cheese looked melted, then I popped the pan under the broiler for about 15 seconds.  WATCH carefully, they will brown and burn very quickly.

Tomato Cheese Tart
Tomato Cheese Tart

The easiest part of all... Find three friends.  Make a salad, pour a glass of wine and enjoy!

tart-plated-10
tart-plated-10