Turkey Turkey, Soup Soup

Confession: I don't really like Thanksgiving dinner. But somehow I keep making it every year. I guess some traditions are like that: you don't question what they are, you just keep doing it because you've always done it that way. So, I keep making the traditional dishes (and lots of it!!) every year and am stuck with a fridge full of left-overs I don't really want to eat anyways, and then I just wait until they have probably been in there too long to still be considered safe to eat and I can justify throwing away the pounds of food - probably enough to feed a starving village somewhere...ones with lots of flies everywhere.

But this year, I am determined to eat what I can stomach and make it into something I will actually like. And this winter has been the winter of soups for me - I've probably made one a week at least since the first scarf came out of the closet to warm my chilly neck. This soup is easy to prepare, and you will most likely have all the ingredients sitting around in your fridge anyways. And, dare I might say, your house just might smell even better than it did on Thanksgiving. You can also add any other veggies you have on hand (mushrooms, leek, etc.), these are just the ones I used.

You will need:

1 TB olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion (I even used green onions)
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup rice
2 cups turkey - pulled apart or chopped
6-10 cups water
4 stems kale, pulled from the stalk and chopped
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over med-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrot. Stir occasionally until the veggies start to get soft, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about one minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the rice and stir for one minute. Add in the turkey and enough water to cover the ingredients by about 1/2 inch. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 2. Stir in the kale and herbs, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. You can add more water at this point too if it's too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

So, if you're as sick of turkey sandwiches by now as I am, make this soup and you won't even know you're eating left-overs! Enjoy!

Devonly, yours


Goodie-Goodie-Gumdrop Salad

No, this salad doesn't have gumdrops in it, but it sure has lots of goodies in it! And it's super yummy, perhaps causing you to exclaim "goodie-goodie-gumdrops!!" while consuming it bowl after bowl (which is what I've been doing lately!) You can mix-and-match veggies as you please or to what's in season. Either way you toss it, this salad is a great staple to any recipe library and keeps for a few days, so lunch is all ready and dinner's side dish is waiting for you when you get home.
You will need*:
6 cups chopped dark greens (kale, chard, mustard, etc.)
1 1/2 cups cooked, cooled grains (lentils, wild rice, quinoa)
2-3 cups chopped assorted veggies (tomatoes, celery, carrots, onion, radish, fennel, broccoli)

1 lemon
1/3 cup well-stirred tahini
2 TB water
2 garlic cloves
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar

To prepare salad, combine all the veggies in a LARGE bowl, set aside.

To make dressing**, combine the zest and all the juice of the lemon in a blender with the remaining ingredients***. Buzz a while till smooth and creamy. Toss with the veggies, and WA-LA! A wonderful year-round salad.

*In the salad I have pictured here (and if you're short on time and/or are close to a Trader Joe's), I combined TJ's chopped Southern Greens Blend, a pouch of TJ's pre-cooked Black Beluga Lentils, tomatoes, carrot, celery, and red onion.

Devonly, yours

**Recipe courtesy Epicurious.com

***You can also add a blop of honey if you want it a little sweeter, or some herbs or spices if you're feeling spicy

****My apologies for the funny spacing in the posts recently, I am being forced to post in IE as opposed to Firefox, and it makes all my spacing jankitty-like*****

*****Phew! That was a lot of footnotes!!


Pumpkin Cake with Ginger-Buttermilk Glaze

If you're like me and made the pumpkin butter recipe from last week you feel like you still have a bunch left over even after putting it on and in anything you are consuming. So, that means it's time to make pumpkin cake! There's nothing I love more than smelling something containing pumpkin baking away in my oven. And especially if it's topped with a gingery goodness! So, when life gives you pumpkin butter, make pumpkin cake!

You will need:

2 1/2 cups pumpkin butter*
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sugar
2 TB. butter
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 TB. fresh ginger, minced

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a tube pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Step 2: Beat together eggs and butter in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add in the vanilla, pumpkin butter, and buttermilk. Beat until combined.

Step 3: In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and a pinch of salt.

Step 4: Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixer in two batches, mixing completely between each batch. Pour into the prepared tube pan and bake 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Step 5: Cool 10 minutes in the pan and then turn over onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Step 6: Make glaze: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and drizzle over the cake.

Devonly, yours

*If you do not have the pumpkin butter, you can substitute a 15oz can of pumpkin puree into the wet ingredients and 1 cup sugar, 2 tsp. Cinnamon, 1 tsp. ground ginger, 1/2 tsp. cloves, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp. allspice into the flour mixture.


Not So Fast!!

This last weekend Jason and I did one last yard clean-up and prep for winter. It's so bittersweet pulling out all the vegetable plants that you nurtured and cared for all summer long and reaped such yummy produce from. But, they would have shriveled up and died anyways, so I guess I'm doing them the respectful duty of taking them while they still have some beauty, no?

Anyways, that's not my point. My point is: some of those dead things in your yard are actually quite beautiful and can still be put to some use. I saved some of the more odd and unique clippings from dead-heading my plants for the winter and some general pruning. Just arrange them together like you would a bouquet, and you have a lovely fall focal piece. If you have a lot of darker-colored dead-heading, it would be kind of a spooky porch-piece for Halloween. Too bad I decided to prune the day after...oh, well...Next year for sure!
It just might take some creativity and unlikely pairings. For my fall's end bouquet, i have clippings from:

Arugula flowers
The last withering hydrangea flowers
Dried fenel flowers
Devonly, yours


Currently Reading

These are the books I have just finished, am currently reading, or am reading next (minus Marquez's Chronicles of a Death Foretold, which has been returned to it's owner..swoon!). And I will be reading them all in my lovely new chair. What are you reading?

Confessions of a reader:

1. I am quite sporadic in my reading. It could take me 3 days to 9 months to finish a book. Which, when doing the latter, is quite hard to follow an intricate story.

2. I'm rather rough on my books. I like to carry the one I'm reading with me - everywhere - in case I get the opportune time to hunker down in a cafe for a while with it. This means it's tossed into the large curjumbled abyss that is my purse along with other things that may or may not consist of that day's lunch, keys and general purse items, shoes (yes, my purse IS that big), water bottle, and perhaps a day's errand purchase or two.

3. I really don't read that much. Not nearly as much as I'd like to. It's getting better, but very slowly. Reading is an activity that I have to be sitting still, for a while and give all my attention to it. Therefore, this usually doesn't happen very often at home. Lately, Jason and I have been going to our local pub and he will work and I will read. This is the ONLY reason I still know anything that's going on or can keep any of the characters straight in Wuthering Heights.

Devonly, yours


Pumpkin Butter

This Halloween, I didn't carve my pumpkins into silly faces and pictures, I carved them up for butter. Why waste one of fall's yummiest bounties? It's very easy to make and your house will smell delicious. Last year I attempted making a large batch and then proceeded to can it all for holiday gifts. However, I read promptly as my last batch was cooling that you are not supposed to can squashes of any kind for fear of easily producing bochelism. So, sorry friends, you didn't get any pumpkin butter last year. If you would like some this year, feel free to stop by with a container and I will give you some refrigerated butter!! This year I used a white pumpkin, but really any kind will do, even a butternut squash would be really tasty.

You will need:

1 small-medium pumpkin
1/2-1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
juice from one lemon
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Quarter, peel, de-seed/de-slimmy stuff the insides, and chop your pumpkin.

2. Place your chopped pumpkin and about 1/4 cup water in a large soup pot and cook over medium to medium-high heat until it breaks down easily, about an hour.

3. If you have a food mill, run the pumpkin through that, otherwise, you can pass it through a sieve, removing any obvious pools of liquid as you go.

4. Return to the soup pot and combine the remaining ingredients over medium heat until nice and thick, about an hour.

5. REFRIGERATE, and enjoy! Great on breads, english muffins, in pancake batter, melted on top of ice cream or in a spicy pork sauce.

Devonly, yours